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Source: Mosaic Co. news release

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The Mosaic Company (NYSE: MOS) today reported fourth quarter 2013 net earnings of $129 million, compared to $616 million a year ago. Earnings per diluted share were $0.30 in the quarter compared to $1.44 last year.

Notable items negatively impacted earnings per share by $0.06. Mosaic's net sales in the fourth quarter of 2013 were $2.2 billion, down from $2.4 billion last year. Operating earnings during the quarter were $179 million, down from $463 million a year ago, as record phosphate and strong potash sales volumes were more than offset by lower realized prices.

The Mosaic Company also announced that its Board of Directors has authorized a $1 billion share repurchase program, allowing the Company to repurchase Class A or common shares, through direct buybacks or in open market transactions.

This authorization is in addition to the previously disclosed agreement to repurchase 43.3 million Class A shares in the first seven months of 2014. Mosaic expects to use share repurchases to meet and maintain its stated balance sheet targets, and remains committed to retaining investment grade credit ratings.

"While our results for the fourth quarter reflect the low market prices for potash and phosphates, current market conditions are improving," said Jim Prokopanko, President and Chief Executive Officer. "Market dynamics are unfolding as we expected they would, with sales volumes increasing before prices; in fact, we shipped a record volume of phosphates during the quarter, and potash volumes increased significantly.

"Mosaic is in excellent position to thrive as the business cycle continues to improve, in large part because of the notable progress we made on our strategic priorities in 2013. We rebalanced and grew our business portfolio, began to structure a more efficient balance sheet by increasing leverage and returning capital to shareholders, and accelerated our work to assure Mosaic remains a low-cost producer."

Cash flow provided by operating activities in the fourth quarter of 2013 was $503 million compared to $377 million in the prior year. Fourth quarter 2014 cash flows reflect strong sales volumes and declining inventory levels. Investments plus capital expenditures totaled $370 million in the quarter. Mosaic's total cash and cash equivalents were $5.3 billion and long-term debt was $3.0 billion as of December 31, 2013.

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