Soc. Quimica y Minera de Chile SA, the country’s biggest fertilizer producer known as Soquimich, posted a 26 percent increase in second-quarter profit after higher prices pushed up sales.
Net income increased to $132 million from $105 million in the same three months last year, the company, based in Santiago, said in a statement on the Chilean securities regulator’s website. The result matched the average estimate of three analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.
“The consistent demand growth and tight market conditions in three of our business lines helped boost results in the second quarter,” Chief Executive Officer Patricio Contesse said in a separate e-mailed statement. “We expect these market circumstances should continue in the second half of the year.”
Specialty plant fertilizer sales rose 21 percent in the first half, while iodine sales climbed 41 percent, lithium 11 percent and potash sales rose 13 percent over the same period, Soquimich, also known as SQM, said.
Potash prices in China, Brazil, Southeast Asia and Europe have advanced 29 percent so far this year according to Bloomberg data, spurring sales for Soquimich, which produces 2 percent of the world’s total of the fertilizer ingredient.
The company controlled by Chairman Julio Ponce is also the world’s biggest producer of lithium, used in camera batteries and in the pharmaceutical industry. Soquimich gets all of its potash, lithium and iodine from brine it taps in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile.
Soquimich’s financial position and expansion plans will allow it to “capitalize on the growth opportunities in all of our businesses,” Contesse said in the statement.
Soquimich shares rose 2.4 percent to 29,173 pesos in Santiago trading today, extending a 2011 gain to 9.9 percent.
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