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UPDATE 2-Nutrien beats quarterly profit expectation on strong potash sales

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(Compares with estimates, adds share movement, Mosaic results,details from results)

Feb 17 (Reuters) - Canadian fertilizer maker Nutrien Ltdposted fourth-quarter profit above analysts' estimateson Wednesday as potash demand rose amid rising crop prices,sending its U.S.-listed shares up 4.5% in extended trade.

Fertilizer producers have benefited from high U.S. cropexports, including record-large corn sales to China. With cropprices touching multi-year highs, farmers are poised to plantmore acres in 2021 and would require more fertilizers for theirplantings.

"Agriculture fundamentals began to improve in late 2020 andwe are starting to see the benefit to our business from thiscyclical recovery," Chief Executive Officer Chuck Magro said.

Rival Mosaic also topped Wall Street estimate forquarterly profit as its potash sales improved, sending itsshares up 2.4% in extended trade.

Improving fertilizer markets during the second half of 2020reflected the tightening supply and demand balance in bothpotash and phosphates, Mosaic said. (https://bit.ly/3qu4Er2)

Nutrien said on Wednesday it expects annual adjusted profitto range between $2.05 per share and $2.75 per share, themid-point of which was slightly higher than analysts' averageestimate of $2.38 per share, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

Adjusted core earnings from its potash segment jumped nearly48% to $220 million in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31.

Potash sales volumes increased nearly 29% due to strongdomestic and offshore demand, supported by improved global cropprices, increased planted acreage in the United States andstrong fall application in North America in anticipation ofhigher planting in 2021, Nutrien said in a statement.

The Saskatoon, Saskatchewan-based company posted adjustednet income of $138 million, or 24 cents per share, compared with$54 million, or 9 cents per share, a year earlier. Analysts wereexpecting a profit of 17 cents per share.

Nutrien also increased its quarterly dividend to $0.46 andapproved the purchase of up to 5% of its outstanding shares overa one-year period.(Reporting by Arunima Kumar in Bengaluru; Editing by MajuSamuel, Arun Koyyur and Subhranshu Sahu)