Yara reports net income after minority interest of NOK 853 million (NOK 2.77 per share) for the first quarter, compared with NOK 917 million (NOK 2.90 per share) in the first quarter last year. Excluding net foreign exchange gain/loss, the result was approximately NOK 2.57 per share compared with NOK 3.31 per share in first quarter 2005. EBITDA for the quarter was NOK 1,492 million compared with NOK 1,866 million in the first quarter last year. First quarter operating income was NOK 758 million compared with NOK 1,271 million in the same quarter last year.
"During the first quarter, Yara's business model continued to show strength in turbulent energy markets. Increased energy costs for Yara were not fully reflected in higher fertilizer prices. However, strong commercial and production performance in Europe resulted in fertilizer sales in line with last year, despite lower overall fertilizer industry sales following a late spring. Our global market presence, balanced product portfolio and an increased proportion of production in several low-cost regions enhance our ability to deal effectively with these challenges," says Thorleif Enger, President and CEO of Yara International ASA.
The Upstream segment's production of ammonia and finished fertilizer continued at a high level with first quarter production up 2 percent compared with the same quarter last year. The Downstream segment achieved first quarter fertilizer sales in Western Europe in line with last year despite lower demand in the region. Sales outside Europe were down 12 percent compared with last year due to a planned reduction of low-margin sales. Yara's Industrial segment increased its sales of industrial gases and environmental products.
Yara's gas cost in Europe is estimated to continue to increase over the next two quarters. However, the demand development in the first quarter represented a positive sentiment change in the global fertilizer market, as conditions again turned demand-driven. Both a positive global demand development and project delays have reduced the risk of over-supply from new capacity coming on-stream in the second half of the year.
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Yara International ASA is a leading chemical company that converts energy and nitrogen from the air into essential products for farmers and industrial customers. As the number one global supplier of mineral fertilizers and agronomic solutions, we help provide food for a growing world population. Our industrial product portfolio includes environmental protection agents that safeguard air and water purity and preserve food quality. Yara's global workforce of 6800 employees represents great diversity and talent enabling Yara to remain a leading performer in its industry. www.yara.com