Potash Corp profit plunges on weaker prices, sales


Oct 24 (Reuters) - Potash Corp of Saskatchewan , the world's biggest fertilizer company, reported asharp drop in quarterly profit on Thursday, as potash prices andsales slumped due to uncertainty in the market after the breakupof rival Belarusian Potash Co.

It also forecast a worse-than-expected 2013 performance,cutting its earnings estimate to a range of $2.00 to $2.20 pershare. It had previously forecast $2.45 to $2.70.

The new outlook is well off the average Wall Street estimateof $2.33 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Net earnings for the third quarter fell to $356 million, or41 cents per share, from $645 million, or 74 cents per share, ayear ago, while sales dropped about 29 percent to $1.52 billion.Analysts on average expected earn 42 cents a share on sales of$1.50 billion.

Potash signaled the weak third quarter earlier this month,reducing its estimate of quarterly profit to 41 cents per sharefrom a range of 45 cents to 60 cents.

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