SPECIALTY FERTILIZER SEGMENT
Specialty fertilizer sales were $56.6 million, a 6 percent increase from the $53.6 million reported in the fourth quarter of 2011. This year-over-year growth was driven by a 6 percent improvement in sales volume partially offset by a 1 percent decline in average selling price.
Because of the poor 2011 solar-evaporation season at the Great Salt Lake, the company supplemented its solar-pond-based feedstock with purchased potassium-based mineral feedstock throughout 2012. These sourced minerals continued to elevate per-unit production costs in the fourth quarter and pressured operating earnings.
| Specialty Fertilizer Segment Performance
(in millions except for sales volumes and prices per short ton)
| Three months ended
| Twelve months ended
|Sales less shipping and handling (product sales)||$||50.0||$||47.7||$||200.0||$||184.3|
|Sales volume (in thousands of tons)||90||85||367||344|
|Average sales price (per ton)||$||626||$||631||$||616||$||610|
OTHER FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTSSelling, general and administrative expense includes transition costs of $3.3 million associated with the retirement of the company’s CEO. Interest expense in the quarter declined 12 percent to $4.5 million as a result of refinancing of the company’s long-term debt at a lower interest rate in the second quarter of 2012. Other income declined to $0.7 million from $1.5 million in the prior-year quarter primarily because of year-over-year differences in foreign exchange gains.