Potash of Saskatchewan (POT)
Q3 2011 Earnings Call
October 27, 2011 1:00 pm ET
Denita C. Stann - Vice President of Investor and Public Relations
Previous Statements by POT
» Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan, Inc. Shareholder/Analyst Call
» Potash of Saskatchewan's CEO Discusses Q2 2011 Results - Earnings Call Transcript
» Potash of Saskatchewan's CEO Discusses Q1 2011 Results - Earnings Call Transcript
William J. Doyle - Chief Executive Officer, President, Non-Independent Director, Chief Executive Officer of Potash Corporation and President of Potash Corporation
G. David Delaney - Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President
Garth William Moore - President of PCS Potash
Stephen Francis Dowdle - President of PCS Sales
Elaine Yip - Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division
Michael Picken - Cleveland Research Company
P.J. Juvekar - Citigroup Inc, Research Division
David L. Begleiter - Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division
Lindsay Mann - Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division
Donald Carson - Susquehanna Financial Group, LLLP, Research Division
Mark R. Gulley - Ticonderoga Securities LLC, Research Division
John Chu - AltaCorp Capital Inc., Research Division
Mark W. Connelly - Credit Agricole Securities (USA) Inc., Research Division
Adam Schatzker - RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Research Division
Jeffrey J. Zekauskas - JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division
Joel Jackson - BMO Capital Markets Canada
Vincent Andrews - Morgan Stanley, Research Division
Ben Isaacson - Scotia Capital Inc., Research Division
Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for standing by. Welcome to the PotashCorp Third Quarter Earnings Conference Call. [Operator Instructions] I would like to remind everyone this call is being recorded on Thursday, October 27 at 1:00 p.m. Eastern. I will now turn the conference over to Denita Stann, Vice President Investor and Public Relations. Please go ahead.
Denita C. Stann
Thanks, Brock. Good afternoon. Thank you for joining us, everyone, and welcome to our third quarter earnings call. In the room today, we have Bill Doyle, our President and CEO; Wayne Brownlee, our Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer; David Delaney, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer; Joe Podwika, Senior Vice President and General Counsel; Garth Moore, President of PCS Potash; Brent Heimann, President of PCS Phosphate and PCS Nitrogen; and Stephen Dowdle, President of PCS Sales.
I'd like to welcome the media who are listening in and remind people that we are live on our website. This morning, we posted an investor presentation on our website. And during Bill's remarks, we will be highlighting some of the information from this presentation.
I would also like to remind everyone that today's call may include forward-looking statements. Such statements are given as of the date of this call and involve risks and uncertainties. A number of factors and assumptions were applied in the formulation of such statements, and actual results could differ materially.
For additional information with respect to forward-looking statements, factors and assumptions, we direct you to our news release and our most recent Form 10-K.
Today's news release is also posted on our website and includes a reconciliation of certain non-IFRS measures to their most directly comparable IFRS measures. I'll now turn the call over to Bill Doyle for some comments, and then we'll go to questions.
William J. Doyle
Thank you, Denita, and good afternoon, everyone, and thank you for joining us for this discussion of PotashCorp's third quarter earnings and the conditions that are shaping our performance.
We appreciate this opportunity to share our views on the fertilizer industry and why we believe our company is well positioned today and for the future. These are uncertain economic times as debt issues in several European countries and questions about global growth rates have caused many investors to reassess risk. The impact was evident in commodity markets as prices for a number of key global crops fluctuated during our third quarter. Despite this volatility, crop prices remained at historically high levels, and farmers continue to strive for increased production to capitalize on the economic opportunity in agriculture.
As a result, demand for our potash, phosphate and nitrogen products remain strong. Tight supply-demand fundamentals supported higher prices. This is especially true of potash as our shipments were up 14% compared to last year's third quarter, September bringing the highest monthly volumes in our history.
Earnings of $826 million or $0.94 per share were the second-highest total ever for our third quarter, approaching the record achieved in 2008. Gross margin of $1.1 billion doubled last year's third quarter, and our 9-month total of $3.4 billion far surpassed the $1.9 billion generated in the first 9 months of 2010.
For the year, earnings guidance remains at $3.40 to $3.80 per share, with the midpoint of the range close to our previous record of $3.64 per share set in 2008. Importantly, cash flow per share at the midpoint would be approximately 10% higher than our 2008 record. Our growing ability to deliver, especially in potash, is becoming evident today and we believe will be even more valuable moving forward.
Our optimism for the agricultural sector is based on long-term trends and population growth in global development rather than short-term economic peaks and valleys. It's like watching the ocean. The waves breaking on the surface draw all the attention, but it is the current beneath the water that determines your direction. We know that global population continues to increase especially in Asia and Latin America. Every day, millions of people in those countries enjoy a greater ability to buy more and better foods. When the economy tightens, consumers may not buy a bigger home or a new car, but putting food on the table is always a priority.
North America and more significantly for people in developing countries, this was highlighted through late 2008 and 2009, the most significant economic downturn in most of our lifetimes. Grain consumption still grew by more than 2% annually. That's not to suggest crop prices are unaffected by economic shifts. We witnessed this in September as a broad-based investor liquidation of many commodities had an impact on prices. It is clear, however, that agricultural commodities have held their value much better in this environment than many basic materials.