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May 1 (Reuters) - Agrium Inc , the world's biggest farm retailer, reported a smaller-than-expected loss on Monday, helped by higher selling prices for potash.
The Canadian company sold 636,000 tonnes of wholesale potash in the first quarter ended March 31 at an average of $208 per tonne, compared with 456,000 tonnes at $199 per tonne a year earlier.
Agrium's retail sales fell 2.2 percent to $2.24 billion. Wholesale sales of nitrogen, potash and phosphate were up 4 percent at $675 million.
The company's net loss attributable to shareholders was $11 million, or 8 cents per share, compared with a profit of $2 million, or 2 cents per share, a year earlier.
On an adjusted basis, it lost 7 cents per share, while analysts on average had expected a loss of 8 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Agrium, which is merging with Potash Corp of Saskatchewan , said revenue fell marginally to $2.72 billion, missing estimates of $2.77 billion.
Last week, Potash Corp reported a bigger-than-expected rise in its first-quarter profit. (Reporting by Ahmed Farhatha in Bengaluru and Rod Nickel in Winnipeg, Manitoba; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)