Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc.'s profit more than doubled in the latest quarter on higher production and record sales.
The world's largest fertilizer producer reported early Thursday its net income jumped to $826-million (U.S.), or 94 cents per share in the three months ended Sept. 30.
That was more than double the 38 cents per share, or $343-million in profit the company earned in the same quarter last year.
Sales in the quarter jumped to $2.3-billion from $1.58-billion last year as the company cashed in on growing demand for fertilizer in China, India and other parts of the world.
Potash Corp., which reports in U.S. dollars, said record third-quarter sales and significantly higher prices raised potash gross margin to $700-million – the second-highest third-quarter total in company history.
This raised gross margin for the year to $2.2-billion, well ahead of the $1.3-billion earned in the first three quarters of 2010.
Production in the quarter hit a record 1.9 million tonnes, up from 1.3 million tonnes a year earlier.
The company says offshore potash demand remained robust during the third quarter and on pace to achieve record levels in 2011.
Potash Corp. president and chief executive officer Bill Doyle said the "undeniable need for potash, phosphate and nitrogen" ensured products moved through the system to reach farmers around the world.
"Our third-quarter performance reflected the unrelenting pressure on global food production – and the strength of our growing fertilizer enterprise."
After the rejection of BHP Billiton's hostile $40-billion bid for Potash Corp. last year, the Saskatoon company has moved ahead with expansion plans and developments to boost supply.
And despite recent weakness in the global economy, the prospects remain bright for the industry.
"Despite economic uncertainty around the world, a growing population has and will continue to need more food and, ultimately, more fertilizer," added Mr. Doyle.
"By recognizing this powerful long-term trend and making the commitment to be prepared for growing demand, especially for potash, we anticipate new opportunities in the years ahead. Our expanding operational capability will be increasingly valuable – in helping grow global food production and in serving the interests of all stakeholders in our company."