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Potash Corp profit plunges on weaker prices, sales

Oct 24 (Reuters) - Potash Corp of Saskatchewan , the world's biggest fertilizer company, reported a sharp drop in quarterly profit on Thursday, as potash prices and sales slumped due to uncertainty in the market after the breakup of 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 per share. It had previously forecast $2.45 to $2.70.

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

Net earnings for the third quarter fell to $356 million, or 41 cents per share, from $645 million, or 74 cents per share, a year 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 share from a range of 45 cents to 60 cents.