Yara International ASA, the largest publicly traded nitrogen-fertilizer maker, reported profit that beat estimates and raised its dividend as margins improved and the company booked a gain from the sale of units.
Net income more than doubled to 3.39 billion kroner ($585 million) from 1.56 billion kroner a year earlier, beating the 2.98 billion-krone estimate of 17 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Yara declared a dividend of 7 kroner a share, up from 5.5 kroner.
“Margins improved compared with last year, more than offsetting the impact of lower sales volumes,” Chief Executive Officer Joergen Ole Haslestad said in the statement. “Crop prices and farm margins remain healthy, and fertilizer deliveries will need to recover to avoid a decline in global grain stocks.”
Fertilizer prices have gained as rising food consumption spurs farmers to plant more crops. Yara’s sales rose 13 percent to 19.6 billion kroner in the quarter as lower volumes were balanced by higher margins, Yara said.
“Demand has normalized early in the first quarter,” Samir Bendriss, an analyst at Pareto Securities ASA, said in an e- mailed note. “This should alleviate volume concerns for 2012, especially given strong farmer margins.”
Read more at Bloomberg