Agrium Inc. says it expects its first half earnings to be near or at the top end of its previously released guidance range of $5.50 to $6.10 diluted earnings per share on continuing operations (near or at the top end of its second quarter guidance range of $4.18 to $4.78 diluted earnings per share on continuing operations). The guidance excludes hedging gains or losses and share-based payments expense in our first quarter actual results and estimated second quarter results.
The major assumptions include but are not limited to:
- Wholesale realized nutrient prices for the second quarter of 2012 are expected to be slightly higher than the same period last year for nitrogen and potash and slightly lower for phosphate.
- Wholesale fertilizer sales volumes are expected to be slightly lower than in Q2 2011 for nitrogen and potash products.
- Retail North America fertilizer margin percentages will be lower and chemical percentages slightly higher than the margin percentages realized in Q2 2011.
- Retail North America fertilizer sales volumes will be slightly lower than volumes in Q2 2011.
- The exchange rate for the Canadian dollar in the second quarter of 2012 will be at par with the U.S. dollar.
- The average North American realized gas price for the second quarter of 2012 will not deviate significantly from approximately $2.25 per MMBtu.
- The exclusion from the guidance range of the effects in the first half of: Share-based payments; gains or losses on hedge positions; results of potential acquisitions and discontinued operations.