* Q1 loss 9 cts/shr vs. year-ago EPS $1.28
* Revenue down 26 pct
* Terra integration "off to a good start"
* Gulf Coast oil leak may affect phosphate operations
* Shares up 1.5 percent
(Adds conference call, oil spill; updates stock)
By Ernest Scheyder
NEW YORK, May 7 Fertilizer maker CF Industries
Holdings Inc (CF.N) posted a first-quarter loss and steep drop
in revenue on Friday, but said it expects results to sharply
improve in the second quarter.
An unusually wet spring forced farmers to apply nitrogen
and other fertilizers in April, harming first-quarter results
but paving the way for a potentially robust second quarter for
On a conference call with investors, Chief Executive
Stephen Wilson said light customer stocking in the first
quarter sets CF up for "strong" results in the current quarter
and that he expects U.S. demand for phosphate to increase 15
percent in 2010.
CF shares rose $1.13 to $75.29 in midday trading.
Production of all types of fertilizer jumped during the
first quarter, though average selling prices slipped.
"Spring really got rolling in April, and when it got
rolling, it got rolling huge," Dahlman Rose analyst Charles
Neivert said. "The real big numbers are going to show up in the
The company's nitrogen production capacity was nearly
doubled after last month's acquisition of rival Terra
Nitrogen is the most important fertilizer that farmers need
to apply, followed by phosphate and potash, which CF does not
The oil leak along the Gulf Coast should not affect
nitrogen production, Wilson said.
However phosphate products, which are produced in Florida
and shipped across the Gulf and up the Mississippi River, could
be affected, he said.
The company may need to rely on railroads to ship product
if that happens, a scenario the company would like to avoid,
So far the leak has not affected U.S. ports on the Gulf or
access to the Mississippi, government and port officials said.
BY THE NUMBERS
CF reported a net loss of $4.4 million, or 9 cents per
share, compared with net income of $62.7 million, or $1.28 per
share, in the year-earlier period.
The period included one-time charges of $150 million and a
one-time gain of $28.3 million.
CF declined to provide an adjusted earnings-per-share
Revenue fell 26 percent to $502.4 million. Analysts
expected $502.4 million.
CF's buyout of rival Terra Industries closed April 15.
Terra earned $47 million in the first quarter, up from $30
million a year earlier, CF said.
The company's stock has traded between $67.94 and $110 in
the past 52 weeks.
CF rival Intrepid Potash Inc (IPI.N) said on Tuesday its
first-quarter profit rose 21 percent. [ID:nSGE6430MO]
(Reporting by Ernest Scheyder; Editing by Derek Caney, Dave