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Compass Minerals 1Q profit rises 16 percent

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) -- Compass Minerals' first-quarter net income rose 16 percent as the long winter boosted road salt sales.

The salt and fertilizer company said it earned $46.4 million, or $1.38 per share, for the quarter that ended March 31. That was up from $39.9 million, or $1.19 per share, during the same period last year, when the company was wrestling with the aftermath of a tornado that struck a facility in Ontario.

Revenue rose almost 22 percent to $383.7 million, from $315.3 million a year earlier.

Analysts surveyed by FactSat had been expecting a profit of $1.11 per share on revenue of $350.4 million.

Sales in its salt segment rose 29 percent to $327.5 million. Volumes for salt to be used for highway deicing jumped 40 percent compared to the same period last year, when the winter was mild. However, average selling prices for deicing products fell 2 percent because of bids agreed to in the prior season. Operating profits rose 25 percent to $65.4 million.

Specialty fertilizer sales fell 8 percent to $54 million. Operating earnings fell 26 percent to $15.4 million as sales volumes fell and costs rose.

Compass Minerals International Inc. is based in Overland Park, Kan.