February 23, 2011 / 10:40 PM / 8 years ago

UPDATE 1-Fertilizer sales nourish Intrepid Potash's Q4

* Q4 EPS $0.24 vs est $0.20

* Sales up 32 pct at $96.2 mln vs est $87.2 mln (Adds details)

Feb 23 (Reuters) - Intrepid Potash Inc posted its second straight market-topping quarterly profit as potash sales increased 44 percent on surging demand for grains.

Rising crop prices are giving strong incentives to farmers to maximize yield, which entails applying more fertilizer, thus helping fertilizer companies like Potash Corp and Mosaic Co clock good sales numbers.

“Given the strong commodity-pricing environment and level of grain demand, we expect at least a normal spring season in terms of application rates as farmers look to maximize yield and margin,” Intrepid’s Executive Chairman Bob Jornayvaz said.

October-December profit nearly tripled to $18.2 million, or 24 cents a share, from $6.7 million, or 9 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter.

Sales at the Denver-based company rose 32 percent to $96.2 million.

Analysts were looking for earnings of 20 cents a share, on revenue of $87.2 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Intrepid shares closed down 2 percent at $35.69 on Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Krishna N Das; Editing by Anne Pallivathuckal)

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