Agrium lowers 2016 profit estimate, reports loss in third quarter

CALGARY – Agrium Inc. (TSX:AGU) lowered its expectations for the current financial year following a third-quarter loss, amid low prices for fertilizer and soft demand in the United States for its crop protection products and services.

The Calgary-based company — which sells fertilizer on the global market and retails agricultural products such as pesticides in North America — had a US$41-million net loss attributable to shareholders, or 29 cents per share.

That compared with US$101 million or 72 cents per share of net income in the third quarter of 2015.

Agrium, which keeps its books in U.S. dollars, reported sales revenue of US$2.25 billion compared with US$2.52 billion a year ago.

The company reduced its 2016 earnings estimate about seven per cent, to a range of between US$4.60 and US$5.00 per share from a range of between US$5.00 to US$5.30 per share.

Agrium’s third-quarter loss after adjustments was $17 million or 12 cents per share, after excluding several items such costs associated with a proposed merger with Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan (TSX:POT).

The two Canadian fertilizer companies have been coping for months with low prices for crop nutrients such as potash, nitrogen and phosphates.