September 23, 2019 / 3:44 PM / 2 months ago

K+S cuts output, sees lower earnings on weak potash demand

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German mineral miner K+S (SDFGn.DE) will cut production of potash fertilisers, dragging core earnings lower, as a halt imposed by China on potash imports dampens global markets.

“In the current weak market environment, which is further intensified by the continuing Chinese import bans on the standard potassium chloride product, adjusting production is a difficult decision, but the right one,” K+S executive Alexa Hergenroether said in a statement on Monday.

The group’s potash output will be reduced by up to 300,000 tonnes by the end of the year, holding back core earnings, or earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA), by as much as 80 million euros ($88 million), the company said.

It had previously forecast 2019 EBITDA of 730-830 million euros, targeting the sale of 6.9-7.1 million tonnes of potash for the year.

Larger Canadian rival Nutrien (NTR.TO) earlier this month flagged a $100-$150 million reduction in potash EBITDA as a result of cutting output by about 700,000 tonnes.

Russian potash producer Uralkali (URKA.MM) last week followed up with plans to reduce output by 350,000-500,000 tonnes.

Reporting by Ludwig Burger; Editing by Christoph Steitz and David Evans

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