* Adj Q2 EBIT 219.8 mln euros vs poll avg 186.1 mln
* Prices of key crops have gained 30-50 pct since early June
* K+S specifies FY outlook, in line with previous guidance (Adds detailed outlook, background)
FRANKFURT, July 30 (Reuters) - K+S AG, the world’s fourth-largest potash supplier, beat second-quarter sales and operating profit forecasts, as higher crop prices drive demand for fertiliser minerals in its main European market.
Prices of crops such as soy, wheat and corn have risen between 30 and 50 percent in global markets since early June - ju st before the end of the quarter - mainly driven by supply shortages due to drought in the United States. Higher prices for produce give farmers a better return on any expenses on fertiliser.
K+S’s unscheduled statement on Monday contrasts with a drop in profit reported last week by its Canadian peer Potash Corp , the world’s largest fertiliser maker, which forecast weaker than expected earnings for the second half of 2012.
The drought in many U.S. corn growing areas may dent Potash Corp’s near-term fertiliser sales in North America, but the resulting spike in global corn prices bodes well for fertiliser demand in Europe.
K+S said second-quarter earnings before interest and tax, adjusted for currency hedging effects, rose 21 percent to 219.8 million euros ($271.9 million), above the 186.1 million euro average estimate of 23 banks and brokerages posted its web site.
Revenues rose 21 percent to 996.5 million euros, above the 906.8 million euro consensus forecast in Thomson Reuters StarMine.
Its shares were up 2.9 percent to 41.65 euros at 1404 GMT, making them one of the top gainers on Germany’s Dax index of leading shares.
K+S also specified its full-year outlook, saying sales should be 3.9-4.2 billion euros, versus 4.0 billion reported last year. The group had previously predicted flat sales this year.
Adjusted EBIT should come in at 820-900 million euros it said, compared with 906.2 million last year and a previous forecast of a moderate decrease.
K+S is due to release detailed second-quarter results on Aug. 14.
$1 = 0.8084 euros Reporting by Ludwig Burger; Additional reporting by Andreas Kroener; Editing by Erica Billingham