Calgary-based Agrium (AGU) announced 2012 third quarter results today and provided fourth quarter guidance. The company reported consolidated net earnings of $129-million ($0.80 diluted earnings per share) for the third quarter of 2012, compared to net earnings of $293-million reported in the third quarter of 2011 ($1.85 diluted earnings per share), a 55% decline year-over.
The results were limited by a number of factors including a pre-tax share-based payment expense of $53-million ($0.23 diluted earnings per share), a non-recurring charge of $66-million ($0.29 diluted earnings per share) related to environmental remediation liabilities and a $5-million ($0.02 diluted earnings per share) charge associated with the closure of our Courtright facility announced on August 29, 2012.
Excluding these items, net earnings would have been $215-million ($1.34 diluted earnings per share) for the third quarter of 2012 rather than the actual net of $129 million..
"Agrium’s third quarter results demonstrated our competitive strengths in nitrogen and the ability of our Retail business to deliver solid earnings, even given the early spring season and after experiencing one of the worst droughts in U.S. history. Gross profit from our nitrogen business was the highest for a third quarter in our history, while Retail EBITDA nearly matched the outstanding results reported in the third quarter of 2011. Our results this quarter were impacted by the downtime at our potash operations associated with our substantial potash mine expansion and a weaker potash market stemming from uncertainties from ongoing negotiations with India and China," said Mike Wilson, Agrium President and CEO.
AGU is upbeat about the future, however. Fourth quarter 2012 guidance is at $1.50 to $1.90 diluted earnings per share. This excludes hedging gains or losses and share-based payments expense in our estimated fourth quarter results.
As of now (1 pm CT)...
Agrium (AGU) opened the day today below $100.00 for the first time since the first week of September at $99.40 on a sharp selloff in reaction to the Q3 report. Support at $95.58 and $96.50 sent the stock back toward the upside -- currently trending higher but moving mostly sideways.
AGU down $10.40 so far on the day at $96.75.