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Fertilizer supplier



slashed its second-quarter and full-year outlook due to a poor spring domestic season, a stronger Canadian dollar, and lower natural gas prices.

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The company now sees second-quarter earnings per share of 20 cents, down from previous guidance of 50 cents and well below the consensus estimate of 52 cents provided by Thomson Financial/First Call. For the full year, Potash expects to earn $1.40 a share, below the earlier forecast of $2.00 and the consensus estimate of $2.08.

Potash said the biggest impact so far on earnings has come from unexpected strength in the Canadian dollar. According to the company, a one-cent change in the Canadian dollar's value reduces the company's foreign exchange gain by about $1.5 million, before tax. So far, the Canadian dollar has strengthened by almost 7 cents compared to the U.S. dollar, so Potash has been forced to reduce its EPS guidance by about 10 cents.

The company added that it has seen a weaker-than-expected spring season with one million fewer corn acres planted, while volumes, which were expected to be up, are now expected to be flat with last year's second quarter.

In a press release, Potash said, "While the North American spring season was clearly disappointing, developments in offshore markets continue to be encouraging and market conditions are stronger at the current time than they were a year ago."

Shares of Potash closed at $64.64 Thursday before the news.