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Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile S.A. (SQM) (NYSE: SQM; Santiago Stock Exchange: SQM-B, SQM) reported today earnings for the nine months ended September 30, 2017 of US$317.2 million (US$1.21 per ADR), an increase from US$197.4 million (US$0.75 per ADR) for the nine months ended September 30, 2016. Gross profit(3) reached US$546.4 million (34.5% of revenues) for the nine months ended September 30, 2017, higher than US$406.2 million (29.3% of revenues) recorded for the nine months ended September 30, 2016.
Revenues totaled US$1,582.5 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2017, representing an increase of 14.2% compared to US$1,385.5 million reported for the nine months ended September 30, 2016. The Company also announced earnings for the third quarter of 2017, reporting net income of US$112.9 million (US$0.43 per ADR) compared to US$55.8 million (US$0.21 per ADR) for the third quarter of 2016. Gross profit for the third quarter of 2017 reached US$188.5 million, higher than the US$145.7 million recorded for the third quarter of 2016. Revenues totaled US$558.7 million, an increase of approximately 10.8% compared to the third quarter of 2016, when revenues amounted to US$504.0 million.
SQM's Chief Executive Officer, Patricio de Solminihac, stated: "The results we published for the first nine months of 2017 are a result of our strong position in all of the markets in which we are present. In the specialty plant nutrient business line strong sales volumes were due to strong demand growth along with decreased supply from our competition. Our operations team has been able to increase production in an efficient way, allowing us to increase our volumes while maintaining the supply and demand equilibrium in the market. Our sales volumes increased almost 9% during the first nine months of this year compared to the same period last year. In the potassium chloride market, our sales volumes surpassed 1.0 million MT during the first nine months of the year. Sales volumes for 2017 could surpass 1.3 million MT, a decrease compared to last year, but higher than our previous expectations." "In the lithium market, we continue to see strong demand growth and we saw prices continue to increase during the third quarter, surpassing US$13,000/ton, thus increasing another 8% compared to the second quarter. We believe this pricing trend should continue for the remainder of this year, and through the beginning of 2018. We continue to move forward with our new lithium projects. Our projects in Chile remain on time, and we expect to complete our lithium hydroxide and lithium carbonate expansions by the middle of 2018. In Argentina, we are investing in the first stage of the 25,000 MT expected to be online in 2019, and in Australia we finalized the documentation required to move forward with the joint venture with Kidman Resources."
"In the iodine market, we have been working over the past several years to increase our sales volumes in line with our corporate strategy and operational plan. Market share has returned to levels greater than 30%, and we believe sales volumes will surpass 12,500 MT this year. Given these increase sales volumes, we are increasing our iodine production capacity to reach just over 14,000 MT as we want to ensure the supply is available to meet the demand of the future. With prices slightly higher than prices seen during the second quarter, we are optimistic about our future in the iodine market."
Segment Analysis Specialty Plant Nutrition (SPN) Revenues from our Specialty Plant Nutrition business line for the nine months ended September 30, 2017 totaled US$511.4 million, higher than the US$487.1 million reported for the nine months ended September 30, 2016. Third quarter 2017 revenues reached US$185.6 million, higher than the US$154.9 million reported in the third quarter of 2016.
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