Agrium Raises Dividend by 50%, Provides Q3 Guidance

Agrium's shareholder payout is experiencing a major growth spurt. The company lifted its quarterly common stock dividend to $0.75 per share, to be paid on October 17 to shareholders of record as of September 30. That amount is $0.25, or 50%, higher than its preceding four payouts of $0.50 per share, the most recent of which was dispensed in July. Three of those four were quarterly payouts, following Agrium's switch from semi-annual to quarterly distributions at the beginning of this year.

The new dividend annualizes to $3.00 per share. That yields 3.5% at the company's current stock price of $86.67.

Agrium also provided guidance for its Q3. It expects comparatively lower volumes for all three of its major nutrients: nitrogen, phosphate, and potash. That for nitrogen is anticipated to drop by around 20% from the level of Q3 2012, while that for phosphate should fall by roughly 30%. Potash volumes are expected to be approximately 30% below a typical Q3.

Financially speaking, Agrium's Q3 wholesale earnings before interest and taxes are expected to be around $200 million below the same period of 2012. The company believes that retail EBIT, on the other hand, will exceed that of Q3 2012. Although it did not break out EBIT figures in the year-ago period's earnings release, it did reveal that wholesale earnings before interest and taxes, depreciation and amortization came in at $376 million. EBITDA for retail was $121 million.

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