Fertilizer maker Nutrien's beats profit estimates, raises forecast

(Reuters) - Canadian fertilizer and farm supply dealer Nutrien Ltd NTR.TO posted a better-than-expected quarterly profit on Wednesday, driven by higher prices for potash and nitrogen fertilizers.

The company raised its forecast for potash sales volumes to between 12.3 and 12.8 million tonnes, citing strong global potash demand. This compares to a May projection in the range of 12 million tonnes to 12.5 million tonnes.

However, Nutrien said that most U.S. crop prices have declined over the quarter, driven by a combination of favorable U.S. crop prospects and uncertainty over escalating trade restrictions.

The company, formed by the merger of Agrium Inc and Potash Corp of Saskatchewan in January, on Wednesday reported a net income of $741 million in the three months ended June 30. On a pro forma basis, Nutrien earned $705 million in net income a year earlier.

Sales rose 10.8 percent to $8.15 billion.

Excluding items, the company earned C$1.48 per share. Analysts were expecting a profit of C$1.38 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Reporting by Karan Nagarkatti in Bengaluru; Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar; editing by Diane Craft