September 30, 2013 / 10:34 AM / 6 years ago

Morocco phosphate exporter OCP's profit slumps as prices drop

RABAT, Sept 30 (Reuters) - Morocco’s Office Cherifien de Phosphate (OCP), the world’s leading phosphate exporter, posted a 46 percent drop in its first half net profit to 3.6 billion dirhams ($426 million), it said in a statement, as global prices of the mineral fell.

Prices of phosphate rock, an essential ingredient for producing fertiliser, fell to $145 per tonne in 2013 from around $185 per tonne in 2012.

OCP’s sales declined to 24.5 billion dirhams from 28.24 billion in the first half of 2012 although the company continued to boost its output with an aim to reach 47 million tonnes in 2017 in crude phosphate rock from the current 34 million tonnes.

It said fertilisers production will hit 10 million tonnes in 2017 which would make the company the world’s top producer.

Earlier this month, OCP said it had reached an agreement to buy U.S. headquartered firm, Bunge’s 50 percent stake in their Moroccan fertiliser joint venture Bunge Maroc Phosphore S.A. in an undisclosed amount.

OCP, which controls a third of the international market for phosphate, is planning to raise at least $600 million in a foreign bond issue to improve its infrastructure and boost its output, company sources told Reuters in July.

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