Yara eyes higher profit potential as Q1 meets forecast

OSLO, April 26 (Reuters) - Yara International, one of the world’s largest fertiliser makers, will lay out later this year plans to boost profit, it said on Friday while reporting first-quarter earnings in line with forecasts.

“Yara has ... identified further earnings improvement potential and plans to launch updated and increased targets at its Capital Markets Day on 26 June,” the company said in a statement.

Yara’s first-quarter earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose 23 percent year-on-year to $464 million before non-recurring items, while analysts in a Reuters poll on average had expected $469 million.

Chief Executive Svein Tore Holsether said the improvement was largely due to higher European nitrogen margins and a stronger U.S. dollar.

Yara said it expects spot prices for natural gas, its main cost, to be $100 million lower than a year earlier in both the second and third quarters of 2019.

Yara said separately that it had teamed up with IBM to offer digital farming services later this year to help boost crop yields, eventually targeting close to 7 percent of arable land worldwide. (Reporting by Terje Solsvik; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)