Feb 7 Mosaic Co reported a
better-than-expected quarterly profit as it kept a tight leash
on costs, and the company slashed its annual dividend as it
expected only a "gradual" improvement from a prolonged slump in
the fertilizer market.
The company's shares were down 6.6 percent at $29.90 in
light premarket trading on Tuesday.
The world's largest producer of finished phosphate products
said it would cut its annual dividend by 45.4 percent to 60
cents per share, effective with the next declaration.
A capacity glut and soft crop prices have pushed potash and
phosphate prices to multi-year lows.
"While we are confident the market bottom is behind us, the
pace of improvement is expected to be gradual," Chief Executive
Officer Joc O'Rourke said in a statement.
Potash MOP (muriate of potash) cash production costs dropped
28 percent in the fourth quarter from a year earlier, while
phosphate conversion costs fell 15 percent.
Net earnings attributable to Mosaic fell to $12 million, or
3 cents per share, in the three months ended Dec. 31, from $155
million, or 44 cents per share, a year earlier.
On a per share basis, the company recorded a charge of 23
cents, compared with 16 cents a year earlier.
Excluding items, the company earned 26 cents per share,
according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S, handily beating estimates
of 13 cents.
Plymouth, Minnesota-based Mosaic's net sales fell to $1.86
billion, but was slightly above analysts' average estimate of
Mosaic recently bought Vale SA's fertilizer business for
$2.5 billion, the latest in the global fertilizer market as
companies seek ways to beat the slump in prices.
The deal, which makes the Brazilian iron ore miner the
biggest shareholder in the U.S. company, is expected to close in
(Reporting by Vishaka George in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj