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Compass Minerals (NYSE: CMP) has published its fourth-quarter 2012 highway deicing sales volume and regional weather data on its website at
Compass Minerals’ highway deicing sales volume, which includes all highway maintenance products sold in the U.S., Canada and the U.K., as well as rock salt sold to the chemical industry, totaled approximately 2.3 million tons in the three months ended December 2012 compared with sales of 2.7 million tons in the 2011 quarter. The year-over-year decline was the result of high customer carry-over inventories following last season’s mild winter and continued mild weather early this season.
Eleven representative cities in the company’s primary North American highway deicing service area reported a total of 36 snow events during the period compared with 16 events in the same cities in the fourth quarter of 2011. However, the number of snow events in the 2012 quarter was 22 percent below the ten-year average of 46 events.
“The milder-than-average start to this winter further reduced demand for all of our deicing products, pushing both our highway deicing and our consumer and industrial sales volumes approximately 15 percent lower than last year. These lower sales volumes contributed to elevated per-unit salt costs similar to the 2011 quarter,” said Rodney Underdown, Compass Minerals chief financial officer. “Winter weather did return to our markets very late in December, and we’re hopeful that we will begin to see more typical weather.”
The number of snow events reported may not directly correlate to Compass Minerals’ deicing results due to a variety of factors, including the relative significance to the company of the cities represented and differences in the amount of salt purchased by customers to establish their pre-season stockpiles. The weather data should be used only as an indicator of the year-to-year variations in winter weather conditions in these cities. Compass Minerals draws its weather data from the U.S. National Weather Service and Environment Canada without weighting or other adjustments.