SQM Reports Earnings for the First Half of 2010

Sep 01, 2010, 02:07 ET from SQM

SANTIAGO, Chile, Sept. 1 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile S.A. (SQM) (NYSE: SQM; Santiago Stock Exchange: SQM-B, SQM-A) reported today earnings for the first half of 2010 of US$181.5 million (US$0.69 per ADR), an increase of 4.2% with respect to the same period of 2009, when earnings totaled US$174.2 million (US$0.66 per ADR).  Gross Margin reached US$303.2 million (35.0% of revenues), 9.7% higher than the US$276.4 million (41.3% of revenues) recorded during the first half of 2009.  Revenues totaled US$865.3 million for the first six months, representing an increase of 29.5% over the US$668.4 million reported in the same period of 2009.

The Company also announced a year-over-year earnings increase of 22.4% for the second quarter of 2010, reporting quarterly net income of US$105.0 million (US$0.40 per ADR) compared to the 2009 figure of US$85.8 million (US$0.33 per ADR). Gross Margin for the second quarter reached US$171.7 million, 27.9% higher than the US$134.3 million recorded for the same period of 2009. Revenues totaled US$476.7 million, an increase of approximately 37.3% with respect to the second quarter of 2009, when revenues amounted to US$347.2 million.

Patricio Contesse, SQM's Chief Executive Officer, stated, "We have observed a positive shift in demand across all of our business segments during the first six months of 2010. The momentum observed during the first quarter has continued through the second quarter, as improved economic conditions have helped sustain demand. Additionally, inventory levels throughout the supply chain, in all of our business lines, have begun to return to normal levels, which had both a positive impact on our sales volumes and also reflects a clear signal of consumer and distributor confidence in long-term demand."

Mr. Contesse continued, "Our expansion of potassium-based fertilizers has continued to develop according to plans, as evidenced by the completion of our 300,000 metric ton potassium nitrate facility in Coya Sur and the significant increase of production capacity of potassium chloride in the Salar de Atacama."

Mr. Contesse concluded, "Despite some uncertainty regarding the global economy in the short term, we continue to observe strong demand fundamentals in all of our business lines which allow us to maintain an optimistic outlook regarding the future growth prospects of the Company."  

For the complete version of this press release, please visit our Web site: www.sqm.com.

SQM is an integrated producer and distributor of specialty plant nutrients, iodine and lithium. Its products are based on the development of high quality natural resources that allow the Company to be leader in costs, supported by a specialized international network with sales in over 100 countries. SQM's development strategy aims to maintain and strengthen the Company's world leadership in its three core businesses: Specialty Plant Nutrition, Iodine and Lithium.

For further information, contact:

Mary Laverty, 56-2-4252074 / mary.laverty@sqm.com

Mark Fones, 56-2-4252485 / mark.fones@sqm.com

For media inquiries, contact:

Fernanda Guerra, 56-2-4252027 / fernanda.guerra@sqm.com

Statements in this press release concerning the Company's business outlook, future economic performances, anticipated profitability, revenues, expenses, or other financial items, anticipated cost synergies and product or service line growth, together with other statements that are not historical facts, are "forward-looking statements" as that term is defined under Federal Securities Laws.

Any forward-looking statements are estimates, reflecting the best judgment of SQM based on currently available information and involve a number of risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those stated in such statements. Risks, uncertainties, and factors that could affect the accuracy of such forward-looking statements, are identified in the public filing made with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and forward-looking statements should be considered in light of those factors.