Nutrien reported a third-quarter loss of $1.03 per share primarily related to an $823 million writedown of its phosphate assets, compared to earnings of $141 million for the same quarter a year ago, but otherwise had a good quarter, the company said.

Without considering the writedown in the value of its phosphate assets, the Canada-based crop inputs company said third-quarter net earnings were $0.23 per share on $4.2 billion in sales. Both numbers beat consensus estimates, which were $0.12 per share and $3.83 billion.

The devaluing of the phosphate assets was "related to a less favorable long-term outlook for phosphate prices and expected global supply imbalance," the company said.

Nutrien CEO Chuck Magro said the company “delivered another quarter of solid operating results with strong fertilizer sales volumes and exceptional growth of orders through our digital agriculture platform, surpassing $1 billion of sales. Market conditions are improving around the world with higher crop and fertilizer prices, lower expected inventories and strong demand for crop inputs as we finish the year and enter 2021.”

Magro said the fall application season “is well underway across the U.S.,” with harvest ahead of normal and crop prices increasing “due to a combination of excellent local demand and lower than expected production, resulting in strong grower margins.” He also said “fertilizer affordability is high, particularly for potash and nitrogen” and as a result, “we are optimistic that the fall application season will be good, and we are also positive on the outlook for 2021.”

Nutrien narrowed its 2020 adjusted net earnings guidance to $1.60 to $1.85 per share from $1.50 to $1.90 per share previously. The stock dropped on news of the earnings by about $3/share from end of trading Monday to noon Tuesday, from $41.59/share to $38.42/share.

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