PotasH, the world’s top fertiliser maker, steamrolled quarterly earnings expectations yesterday, on the back of stronger potash demand and higher prices for its nitrogen and phosphate-based nutrients.
The Canadian fertiliser maker is currently battling a $39bn (£24.4bn) hostile bid from mining giant BHP Billiton. Potash Corp has flatly rejected BHP’s bid and launched a lawsuit against the Anglo-Australian miner in an attempt to stymie a takeover.
Potash Corp said net income in the quarter ended 30 September rose to $402.7m, or $1.32 a share, up from a profit of $247.9m, or 82 cents, a year earlier. Quarterly revenue rose 43 per cent to $1.58bn.
BHP launched the $130-a-share bid in August, but Potash’s stock has consistently traded well above that level, indicating that a sweetened bid will be required for the suitor to carry the day.
The company’s potash business, which typically accounts for the lion’s share of its profits, generated two-thirds of the company’s gross margin in the quarter, as demand for the key crop nutrient has staged a steady comeback following a lean patch.