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Source: Agrium news release

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Agrium Inc. (TSX and NYSE: AGU) announced today consolidated net earnings ("net earnings") from continuing operations of $12-million ($0.08 diluted earnings per share) for the first quarter of 2014, compared with net earnings from continuing operations of $146-million in the first quarter of 2013 ($0.98 diluted earnings per share).

The 2014 first quarter results included a $31-million ($0.15 diluted earnings per share) share-based payments expense offset by net hedging gains of $32-million ($0.16 diluted earnings per share) on natural gas hedge positions.

Excluding these items, net earnings from continuing operations would have been at $11-million ($0.07 diluted earnings per share).

"Agrium's first quarter is traditionally our seasonally lowest earnings quarter and this was exacerbated this year by the record cold winter across North America. However, farmer sentiment is positive this spring and we are now seeing good demand for crop input products and services. Agrium achieved a record $788-million in operating cash flow this quarter, despite the lower net earnings, as we continue to focus on reducing working capital needs," commented Chuck Magro, Agrium's President and CEO.

Agrium is providing guidance for the second quarter of 2014 of $3.85 to $4.35 diluted earnings per share from continuing operations. This excludes derivative gains or losses and share-based payments expense in our estimated second quarter results.

The outage at our Carseland nitrogen plant is expected to impact second quarter earnings due to lost production and higher costs. The expected financial impact from the Carseland outage is estimated at $0.35 diluted earnings per share in the second quarter.

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