January 17, 2020 / 12:13 AM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-Australia's Nufarm sees H1 core profit down 50% amid 'extreme climatic conditions'

(Adds details on bushfires and conditions in North America)

Jan 17 (Reuters) - Australian crop protection firm Nufarm Ltd said on Friday its first-half core earnings will likely halve from last year, citing challenging conditions across its markets and domestic “extreme climatic conditions”.

The company, which is scheduled to report results on March 25, said it expects earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) to be between A$55 million ($37.93 million) and A$65 million.

Nufarm had reported an EBITDA of A$120.9 million in the first half of last year.

Shares of the company slumped as much as 15.6% in early trade to A$5.140, marking their worst session in more than a month.

The Australian company, which also operates in South America and Europe, flagged that it would suffer a significant drop in sales back home due to “extreme climatic conditions” at a time where the country is dealing with its worst bushfire season on record. It expects the region to report a loss.

While severe storms are expected to bring some relief in the coming days, the heavy downpours could also carry the risk of landslides and water pollution, according to officials.

Nufarm has been grappling with weak demand for crop-protection products in North America.

$1 = 1.4499 Australian dollars Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan and Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel and Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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