The world's biggest potash miner reported that its profits dropped to $230 million, or 26 cents a share compared to $421 million, or 48 cents a share, in the same period one year earlier. Excluding a charge of five cents per share from December job cuts, Potash earned 31 cents a share. This fell below analysts' expectations of 33 cents a share.
Total sales also declined to $1.54 billion from $1.64 billion, and gross margins also declined.
Potash also forecast lower-than-expected earnings guidance for the first quarter and fiscal year 2014. The company is projecting a first-quarter profit of 30 to 35 cents a share and profit for the full year of $1.40 to $1.80 a share. This falls under analysts' expectations of $2 a share and also marks a decline from the profit of $2.04 a share in 2013.
"This past quarter was a difficult one," said President and CEO Bill Doyle in the company's statement. "Pricing headwinds - most notably in potash - weighed on our performance, although there were signs as the quarter came to a close that the uncertainty in global markets was beginning to abate. Our focus remained on those things we can influence and we took important steps to enhance our competitive position across all three nutrients and prepare the company to deliver better performance."