(By Balachander) Mosaic Co. (NYSE:MOS) posted a 22 percent drop in quarterly earnings as lower volumes and prices in phosphates resulted in a 19.4 percent decline in sales.
Earnings were $429 million or $1.01 per share for the first quarter, down from $526 million or $1.17 per share in the comparable period of last year.
Net sales declined to $2.5 billion from $3.1 billion, with sales at the company's phosphates segment declining 30 percent. Net sales in the potash segment grew 10 percent.
"During the quarter our production was impacted by longer annual maintenance shut-downs and challenges posed by hurricanes, and our sales were further impacted by low beginning inventories and low Mississippi River levels," CEO Jim Prokopanko said.
Gross margin as percentage of net sales improved to 30 percent from 28 percent a year ago.
For the second quarter, the company expects Phosphates segment gross margin to be flat with the first quarter.
In the preceding fourth quarter, MOS earned $1.19 a share on flat sales of $2.8 billion.
The stock, which has been trading between $44.43 and $62.65 over the past year, closed Monday's regular trading at $58.01.