Agrium says its preliminary calculation shows Q2 profit was higher than expected - InfoNews

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Agrium says its preliminary calculation shows Q2 profit was higher than expected

A car passes the Agrium head office in Calgary, May 11, 2012. Agrium Inc. says its second-quarter earnings will be even better than the bullish estimate provided last month and will likely set a new record for the Calgary-based fertilizer and farm-supply company. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
July 18, 2012 - 10:16 AM

CALGARY - Agrium Inc. says its second-quarter earnings will be even better than the bullish estimate provided last month and will likely set a new record for the Calgary-based fertilizer and farm-supply company.

Agrium's shares (TSX:AGU) have traded near 52-week highs since it announced on June 11 that the company's second-quarter profit would be near the high end of its estimate, which was $4.18 to $4.78 per diluted share.

The company now estimates earnings for the three-month period will be in a range of US$5.40 to US$5.50 per diluted share — about 15 per cent above its previous guidance, Agrium announced before markets opened .

That's more than $1 per share higher than analyst estimates compiled by Thomson Reuters before Agrium made its revision.

Agrium stock moved up $2.96 to $96.87 shortly after markets opened Wednesday — the highest since the summer of 2008 when commodity prices were setting pre-recession record highs.

"The increase in expected earnings is due to excellent results across our entire crop input business, resulting from the continuation of robust demand through June, despite the very early start to the spring season," Agrium chief executive Mike Wilson said in the announcement.

He also indicated that Agrium could be a beneficiary of the prolonged drought affecting much of the United States. Conditions in Canada's Prairie region to the north of the U.S. Midwest haven't been as severe.

"The outlook remains very positive, supported by the significant increase in grain and oilseed prices globally due to adverse weather in the U.S. and an expected tightening in international crop input markets."

Its full second-quarter results are scheduled to be released on Aug. 2.

Agrium is a fertilizer producer that has diversified into other parts of the agriculture services sector, including a major U.S. retail presence.

It is seeking to buy some of the assets of Viterra Inc. (TSX:VT), a major grain-handler and agricultural supply company that is being acquired by European commodities giant Glencore International.

Its shares closed Tuesday at $93.91 at the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version used incorrect figures.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2012
The Canadian Press

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