February 15, 2017 / 11:03 PM / 10 months ago

UPDATE 1-CF Industries posts bigger-than-expected loss

(Adds background, forecast, details)

Feb 15 (Reuters) - U.S. nitrogen fertilizer producer CF Industries Holdings Inc reported a bigger-than-expected loss, but said it expects prices in North America to improve through the first half of the year.

The company’s shares were down 9 percent in after-market trading on Wednesday.

Fertilizer prices plunged last year amid declining U.S. farm incomes and excess global supply.

The average selling price for ammonia fell about 40 percent to $277 per ton in the fourth quarter, while that of urea fell 22 percent to $214 per ton, CF said.

CF’s quarterly loss totaled $320 million, or $1.38 per share, compared with a profit of $27 million, or 11 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, the company reported a loss of 39 cents per share. Analysts had expected a smaller loss of 5 cents per share.

The Deerfield, Illinois-based company’s net sales fell 22 percent to $867 million. (Reporting by John Benny in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

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