Yara has reported net income after non-controlling interests of US$157M, or US$0.58 per share.
Delivering its fourth quarter results, the fertiliser giant said its net income increased from US$104M (US$0.38 per share) a year earlier.
Excluding currency effects and special items, the company said the result was US$0.60 per share compared with US$0.49 per share in the fourth quarter of 2017.
Q4 EBITDA excluding special items was US$424M, up 21% compared with a year earlier, which the firm said reflected higher production margins, contribution from Yara’s growth projects and a stronger US dollar.
“Yara shows improved results in the fourth quarter with EBITDA excluding special items up 21%,” said Svein Tore Holsether, president and CEO of Yara. “We saw improved margins in a slow off-season market, and the improvement program continued to deliver.
“Following a period of heavy investments, our focus in 2019 is on ramping-up our current growth projects, continued operational improvement and maintaining strong capital discipline.
Total fertiliser deliveries were 2% higher compared with a year earlier, driven by the company’s Babrala acquisition in India and the Cubatão acquisition in Brazil.
Industrial deliveries were 9% higher than a year earlier. Excluding the acquisitions, fertiliser deliveries were down 7% while Industrial deliveries were in line with a year earlier.
Yara’s ammonia production and finished fertiliser production were both 6% higher. Excluding portfolio effects, ammonia and finished fertiliser production was respectively 11% and 2% lower.
The company said the global urea supply-demand balance looks set to remain positive longer term, as nitrogen supply growth is forecast to decline from 2019, and lead times for new projects are typically three to five years.
It also anticipates that demand growth is likely to pick up since increased grain production is needed to keep pace with consumption and global grain stocks are relatively low, particularly excluding China.
The group said that its Yara Improvement Program is on track to reach at least US$500M of annual EBITDA improvement by 2020, of which US$355M has been realised as of the fourth quarter of 2018. Yara said it has identified additional improvement potential and plans to expand both the scope and timeframe of the program during the first half of 2019.