Strong Q4 secures profit increase for Agrium

The Calgary-based fertilizer producer and retailer saw US$200 million in the way of net income in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, an almost 400% rise from the $51 million a year earlier. The profit amounted to $1.45 per share, up from 33 cents in the fourth quarter of 2014.

For the full year, net income climbed by $268 million to $988 million or $6.98 per share, up from $4.97 in 2014.

That was despite the company seeing sales fall year-on-year, to $2.4 billion in the fourth quarter and $14.8 billion in 2015. That compared with $2.7 billion in sales in the fourth quarter of 2014 and $16 billion for all of 2014.

Agrium’s net income was above the estimate of $1.39 per share but sales were about $445 million below the consensus estimate compiled by Thomson Reuters.

“Agrium achieved a strong finish to 2015, despite lower nutrient prices and challenging commodity markets, commented Chuck Magro, Agrium’s President and CEO.

“A key differentiator for the company was our integrated strategy, which helped provide stability in our earnings. We also benefited from the proactive steps we took to further strengthen the company over the past year, including a renewed focus on execution and controlling our controllables.

“These benefits flowed through to our bottom line, helped us to generate $8.59 of free cash flow per share and drive increased returns to shareholders, while still investing in future earnings growth.”

For 2016, Agrium is estimating earnings per share of between US$5.50 and $7.

Agrium Inc. is a Calgary, AB-based producer and marketer of nutrients for agricultural and industrial markets. Agrium is a retailer of agricultural products and services in the United States, Canada, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Uruguay and a multi-national producer and wholesale marketer of nutrients for agricultural and industrial markets. The Company operates through its two business units: Retail and Wholesale. Agrium Wholesale owns 16 production facilities in North and South America across the nitrogen, potash and phosphate spectrum; two mines; and a distribution and storage network throughout North America and internationally through Agrium Europe. Agrium Retail operates approximately 1,375 retail locations, 57 terminals, 8 plants and 18 distribution centers in North and South America, as well as Australia. More from Reuters »

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