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Agrium's Q3 earnings forecast falls short of forecasts; shares drop

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Shares of Canadian agricultural giant Agrium (TSE:AGU) (NYSE:AGU) fell after the company announced earnings guidance for its third quarter that was below analyst estimates.

Shares dropped 3.9 percent to C$94.45 as of 10:30am ET on Thursday.

The company said it expects earnings from continuing operations to be in the range of 45 to 55 cents per share for the third quarter. Analysts were expecting Agrium to report third-quarter earnings of 68 cents, according to Thomson Reuters.

Strong nitrogen results are expected to offset the impact of downtime associated with major turnarounds, according to Agrium's statement released late Wednesday. 

The Vanscoy potash facility in Saskatchewan and the Redwater nitrogen facility in Alberta are both currently offline, but their turnarounds are expected to be completed on time. 

In its retail operations, the company said it expects that "the benefits derived from our broad geographic exposure, diversified portfolio of inputs for a wide variety of crops and continued proprietary product growth will largely offset the impact of lower grain prices and lower crop protection product sales that resulted from the excellent growing conditions experienced across the U.S. this summer."

Retail EBITDA in the second half of 2014 is expected to be in line with the record EBITDA achieved in the same period last year, Agrium said, excluding one-time adjustments in 2013.

The company said fourth quarter earnings are anticipated to be similar to those in the fourth quarter last year.

Agrium's third quarter results and fourth quarter earnings guidance will be issued on November 4. 

Quick facts: Agrium Inc.

Price: - CAD

TSX:AGU
Market: TSX
Market Cap: -
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