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Nutrien posts smaller-than-expected profit on delayed spring season

Canadian fertilizer and farm supply dealer Nutrien Ltd, formed in a merger this year, posted a smaller-than-expected profit in the first quarter on Monday, hurt by a delayed spring season and transportation bottlenecks in Canada.

Nutrien, however, said it expects the current quarter to be strong and raised its full-year guidance.

The company, reporting its second results since being formed by the merger of Agrium Inc and Potash Corp of Saskatchewan in January, raised its 2018 full-year forecast to US$2.20 to US$2.60 per share, compared with its previous guidance of US$2.10 to US$2.60 per share.

"Nutrien's first quarter was affected by a late start to the spring season across North America and west coast rail performance issues. However, we expect a strong second quarter with improved grower margins and strong demand and firm prices for most crop inputs," said Chief Executive Officer Chuck Magro.

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Excluding items, the company earned 16 cents per share. Analysts were expecting a profit of US20 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The net loss was US$1 million in the quarter ended March 31. The company said on a pro forma basis, it earned US$149 million or 13 cents a share, a year earlier.

Combined revenue of the companies fell to US$3.70 billion from US$3.74 billion.

Nutrien's U.S.-listed shares were marginally down in after-market trading on the New York Stock Exchange to US$46.21.