OREANDA-NEWS. June 15, 2012. Agrium Inc. (TSX and NYSE: AGU) announced that it expects its first half earnings will be near or at the top end of its previously released guidance range of USD 5.50 to USD 6.10 diluted earnings per share on continuing operations (near or at the top end of its second quarter guidance range of USD 4.18 to USD 4.78 diluted earnings per share on continuing operations). The guidance excludes hedging gains or losses and share-based payments expense in our first quarter actual results and estimated second quarter results, reported the press-centre of Agrium. 

“These impressive first half earnings are due to excellent results across our crop input business. The outlook remains very positive, supported by the strong global grain prices and a balanced-to- tight international nutrient supply demand situation. Agrium’s strategic investment across the crop input value chain continues to benefit from the strength in these underlying fundamentals,” said Mike Wilson, Agrium President and CEO.

The major assumptions made in preparing our first half guidance are outlined below and include but are not limited to:

Wholesale realized nutrient prices for the second quarter of 2012 are expected to be slightly higher than the same period last year for nitrogen and potash and slightly lower for phosphate
Wholesale fertilizer sales volumes are expected to be slightly lower than in Q2 2011 for nitrogen and potash products

Retail North America fertilizer margin percentages will be lower and chemical percentages slightly higher than the margin percentages realized in Q2 2011

Retail North America fertilizer sales volumes will be slightly lower than volumes in Q2 2011

The exchange rate for the Canadian dollar in the second quarter of 2012 will be at par with the U.S. dollar

The average North American realized gas price for the second quarter of 2012 will not deviate significantly from approximately USD 2.25 per MMBtu

The exclusion from the guidance range of the effects in the first half of:

Share-based payments
Gains or losses on hedge positions
Results of potential acquisitions and discontinued operations.