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NINE MONTHS: AGRIUM'S SALES UP 9%, EARNINGS DOWN 3%
Source: Agrium news release

To read the entire report click here.

Agrium Inc. (TSX and NYSE: AGU) announced today consolidated net earnings ("net earnings") of $129-million ($0.80 diluted earnings per share) for the third quarter of 2012, compared to net earnings of $293-million reported in the third quarter of 2011 ($1.85 diluted earnings per share).

The 2012 third quarter results included a pre-tax share-based payment expense of $53-million ($0.23 diluted earnings per share). The third quarter results also included a non-recurring charge of $66-million ($0.29 diluted earnings per share) related to environmental remediation liabilities and a $5-million ($0.02 diluted earnings per share) charge associated with the closure of our Courtright facility announced on August 29, 2012.

Excluding these items, net earnings would have been $215-million ($1.34 diluted earnings per share) for the third quarter of 2012.

"Agrium's third quarter results demonstrated our competitive strengths in nitrogen and the ability of our Retail business to deliver solid earnings, even given the early spring season and after experiencing one of the worst droughts in U.S. history," said Mike Wilson, Agrium President and CEO.

"Gross profit from our nitrogen business was the highest for a third quarter in our history, while Retail EBITDA nearly matched the outstanding results reported in the third quarter of 2011. Our results this quarter were impacted by the downtime at our potash operations associated with our substantial potash mine expansion and a weaker potash market stemming from uncertainties from ongoing negotiations with India and China.

"Looking ahead, we are in an excellent position to continue to benefit from the robust agricultural fundamentals, as growers strive to make the most of the attractive crop price environment by optimizing their use of Agrium's line of crop inputs and services," added Mr. Wilson.

"Agrium has again recently demonstrated our commitment to returning capital to shareholders with a further doubling to our dividend and the successful completion of a significant share repurchase program. The increased dividend and Cdn$900-million substantial issuer bid are an indication of our confidence that the sector fundamentals and our integrated strategy will continue to deliver strong results for the benefit of shareholders.

"Agrium is committed to continuing to deliver value-added growth and we remain confident we can achieve our growth objectives while also continuing to grow our dividend over time," added Mr. Wilson.

Agrium is providing guidance for the fourth quarter of 2012 of $1.50 to $1.90 diluted earnings per share. This excludes hedging gains or losses and share-based payments expense in our estimated fourth quarter results.3


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