November 5, 2009 / 10:54 PM / 9 years ago

UPDATE 1-Intrepid Potash Q3 profit plunges 81 pct

* Q3 EPS $0.13 vs $0.66 a yr ago

* Q3 revenue falls 55 pct

* Says buyers continue to defer purchases

* Shares flat

Nov 5 (Reuters) - Intrepid Potash Inc (IPI.N) posted an 81 percent drop in third-quarter profit, hurt by lower sales volumes and gross margins as fertilizer dealers deferred buying the key crop nutrient.

In the latest quarter, the company posted a net income of $9.5 million, or 13 cents a share, compared with $49.7 million, or 66 cents a share, a year ago.

Revenue for the quarter dropped 55 percent to $66.4 million, as potash sales almost halved to 111,000 short tons.

Analysts, on average, were looking for earnings of 13 cents a share, before items, on revenue of $64.5 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

“With the fall harvest going slowly, we believe that the persistent wet weather through October in much of the corn growing regions will reduce the chance of a return to normal or near normal fertilization levels until the spring,” Chief Executive Bob Jornayvaz said.

Shares of the Denver-based company closed at $27.35 Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Antonita Madonna Devotta in Bangalore; Editing by Pradeep Kurup)

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