Agrium lifts earnings forecast on strong fertilizer sales

Thu Jan 24, 2013 7:36am EST

Jan 24 (Reuters) - Canadian fertilizer maker and farm products retailer Agrium Inc raised its fourth-quarter earnings forecast on Thursday, as strong grain and oilseed prices spurred demand for its fertilizer products over the fall season in North America.

Calgary, Alberta-based Agrium, the largest retailer of farm products in the region, said it now expects quarterly earnings, excluding one-time items, in the period to be slightly above $2 a share.

Agrium had earlier forecast earnings of $1.50 a share to $1.90 a share in the period. Analysts, on average, were expecting earnings of $1.73 a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

"Going forward, continued strength in crop prices and low global grain inventories are anticipated to support a strong spring application season in 2013," said Chief Executive Mike Wilson in a statement.