Morocco phosphate exporter OCP's profit slumps as prices drop


RABAT, Sept 30 (Reuters) - Morocco's Office Cherifien dePhosphate (OCP), the world's leading phosphate exporter, posteda 46 percent drop in its first half net profit to 3.6 billiondirhams ($426 million), it said in a statement, as global pricesof the mineral fell.

Prices of phosphate rock, an essential ingredient forproducing fertiliser, fell to $145 per tonne in 2013 from around$185 per tonne in 2012.

OCP's sales declined to 24.5 billion dirhams from 28.24billion in the first half of 2012 although the company continuedto boost its output with an aim to reach 47 million tonnes in2017 in crude phosphate rock from the current 34 million tonnes.

It said fertilisers production will hit 10 million tonnes in2017 which would make the company the world's top producer.

Earlier this month, OCP said it had reached an agreement tobuy U.S. headquartered firm, Bunge's 50 percent stake intheir Moroccan fertiliser joint venture Bunge Maroc PhosphoreS.A. in an undisclosed amount.

OCP, which controls a third of the international market forphosphate, is planning to raise at least $600 million in aforeign bond issue to improve its infrastructure and boost itsoutput, company sources told Reuters in July.

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