Nutrien shares rise on higher earnings outlook as farmers enjoy robust crop prices

A farmer works a potato field in Prince Edward Island on Thursday, July 13, 2000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

CALGARY - Shares in fertilizer manufacturer Nutrien Ltd. rose Tuesday after it increased its annual earnings guidance based on rising sales expectations as its farm customers loosen purse strings in view of multi-year high crop prices.

The Saskatoon-based company says it expects crop input spending will increase more than three per cent in its key markets, supported by higher planted acreage and crop prices, as well as higher crop protection and crop nutrient prices.

Nutrien, which reports in U.S. dollars, raised the midpoint of its guidance for its full-year 2021 adjusted net earnings per share to US$2.90 from the previous level of US$2.40. It increased the midpoint of its guidance for adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization to US$4.65 billion from US$4.25 billion.

Its shares rose by as much as C$2.60 or 3.8 per cent to C$71.32 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Nutrien reported first-quarter net earnings of US$133 million on sales of US$4.66 billion, compared with a net loss of US$35 million on sales of US$4.2 billion in the same period of 2020.

It says its earnings were up due to strong retail earnings growth, higher crop nutrient realized selling prices and higher North American potash sales.

“Crop prices and cash margins are at multi-year highs and growers are responding accordingly with increased seeded acreage and a focus on maximizing yields," said Mayo Schmidt, who replaced Chuck Magro as president and CEO last month.

"This is a very exciting time for Nutrien, and the team is focused on executing Nutrien’s strategy and achieving operational excellence across our business."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 4, 2021.

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