Slowed global economic activity in the March quarter resulted in demand for crude oil and related corn-based ethanol products retreating, which contributed to softer-than-expected potash pricing.
The Saskatchewan-based company reported an adjusted loss for the March quarter of US$69 million, or 12c per share. The net result compared with a $41 million net profit in the same period last year.
Nutrien reported March quatrer adjusted EBITDA of $508 million, compared with $704 million a year earlier, with free cash flow falling by more than half t $181 million from $382 million a year ago.
The company confirmed its quarterly dividend of 45c per share, saying the payout was in line with its target of returning 40-60% of annual free cash flow to shareholders.
Potash shipments had been lower than expected to date, prompting Nutrien to pare back its full-year global potash shipment forecast outlook by about one million tonnes to 65-67Mt.
It also lowered its full-year earnings guidance to $1.50-$2.10 per share compared with prior guidance of $1.90-$2.60. This remains in line with the market consensus forecast for $2 per share in 2020, with adjusted EBITDA expected at $3.5-$3.9 billion from prior guidance of $3.8-$4.3 billion.
Shares in the company were down slightly in pre-market trading Thursday at C$35.28, which capitalises it at $20.5 billion (US$14.5 billion).