SQM Falls in Chile After Profit Trails Analyst Forecasts

Soc. Quimica y Minera de Chile SA, the South American country’s largest fertilizer producer, fell the most in three months after the company reported profit that trailed estimates.

SQM, as the company is also known, sank 2.7 percent to 25,753 pesos at the close of trading in Santiago, the biggest one-day decline since Nov. 21. The shares are down 6.4 percent this year.

Fourth-quarter net income fell 11 percent from a year earlier to $141.8 million, less than the $161 million average estimate of four analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Profit in the last three months of 2012 was the lowest since the quarter ended in June 2011.

The decline in profits came as a result of “disappointing” volumes and weaker pricing, Banchile-Citi, the joint research department of lender Banco de Chile and Citigroup, said in a research note. “Uncertainties on fertilizer demand and increased market supply in iodine and lithium keep management cautious on 2013.”

SQM also had its rating cut to neutral from buy at Miller Tabak & Co, with a price target of $60 per American depositary receipt. The ADRs fell 2.6 percent to $54.31.