Acron Earnings Fall on Crisis, Seasonal Drop

Fertilizer producer Acron posted lower-than-expected gains in nine-month earnings and sales Wednesday as the financial crisis and seasonal weakness hit demand.

"The results turned out to be somewhat below market expectations, as late in the third quarter Acron's performance was affected by a seasonal drop in demand, which sank even deeper due to the global financial crisis," chairman Alexander Popov said in a statement.

Last month, Acron said it would cut output by up to 50 percent in November at its plants in Russia and China as cash-strapped agricultural producers scale back orders and prices for its products fall.

Despite the recent downturn, Acron posted strong January-September earnings growth after prices soared in the first half of the year.

Nine-month net profit more than tripled to 10.55 billion rubles ($384.2 million) from 3.21 billion in the same period of 2007, while revenue rose 67 percent to 36.30 billion rubles.

Earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortization in the period rose 221 percent to 16.40 billion rubles. The EBITDA margin jumped to 45 percent from 24 percent in the same period last year.

Earnings per ordinary share surged 233 percent to stand at 222.58 rubles.

Acron also said it expected more stable sales at the start of 2009.