SQM Reports Earnings for the Six Months Ended June 30, 2015

Aug 25, 2015, 18:34 ET from Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile, S.A.

SANTIAGO, Chile, Aug. 25, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile S.A. (SQM) (NYSE: SQM; Santiago Stock Exchange: SQM-B, SQM-A) reported today earnings for the six months ended June 30, 2015 of US$154.9 million (US$0.59 per ADR), an increase from US$152.1 million (US$0.58 per ADR) for the six months ended June 30, 2014. Gross Margin reached US$295.2 million (33.9% of revenues) for the six months ended June 30, 2015, slightly lower than US$300.2 million (28.4% of revenues) recorded for the six months ended June 30, 2014. Revenues totaled US$871.8 million for the six months ended June 30, 2015, representing a decrease of 17.5% compared to US$1,056.4 million reported for the six months ended June 30, 2014.

The Company also announced earnings for the second quarter of 2015, reporting net income of US$83.2 million (US$0.32 per ADR) compared to US$71.1 million (US$0.27 per ADR) for the second quarter of 2014. Gross Margin for the second quarter of 2015 reached US$164.6 million, higher than the US$145.3 million recorded for the second quarter of 2014. Revenues totaled US$484.2 million, a decrease of approximately 7.3% compared to the second quarter of 2014, when revenues amounted to US$522.3 million.

SQM's Chief Executive Officer, Patricio de Solminihac, stated, "The second quarter was highlighted by a strong EBITDA of US$215 million, and an EBITDA margin of 44.3%. These high margins demonstrate the tremendous success we have accomplished through operational efficiencies and costs-savings efforts. These margins were achieved amidst lower pricing environments in several important markets, further highlighting our efforts. We have also benefited from the depreciation of the peso and lower energy costs."

"In the SPN business line, sales volumes returned to normal levels during the second quarter 2015. We expect similar sales volumes in this business line during 2015 when compared to 2014. In the potassium chloride business line, while volumes were significantly higher in the second quarter of 2015 when compared to the first quarter of this year, we expect total sales volumes for 2015 to be lower than sales volumes seen last year. Overall market demand for potassium chloride in 2015 is expected to be lower than demand seen in 2014; this lower demand could increase competition in the market and present pricing pressure in coming quarters."

"Average Iodine prices for the first half of this year were below US$30/kg. However, as the lowest cost producer of iodine we are very competitive at these lower prices, and we have been successful at further reducing our costs. We saw higher sales volumes in this business line in the six months ended June 30, 2015 when compared to the six months ended June 30, 2014, and anticipate higher sales volumes in 2015 when compared to last year; this is in line with our broader strategy. Higher prices were reported in the lithium market during the second quarter, and this trend will likely continue in future quarters."

"The arbitration process with CORFO continues. We will use our best efforts to defend the interest of the Company throughout this process and will inform the market of any relevant developments."

Mr. de Solminihac closed by saying, "At the beginning of August, some parts of the north of Chile were affected by very unusual storms, including the regions where our assets are located. No workers were injured, and while our production plants were not affected, we temporarily suspended operations during the rain for safety reasons. Our train system between Coya Sur and the port of Tocopilla is not operating, as we found some damage to parts of the railway line; we are using other means to move product to the port while we assess the situation. At this point, we do not believe that this issue will have a material impact on our sales volumes. The Company is providing support to its workers and their families who have been affected by the storms, and has been helping local authorities with clean-up and reconstruction efforts, especially in the city of Tocopilla."

For the complete version of this press release, please visit our IR Web site: http://ir.sqm.com/English/investor-relation/default.aspx

About SQM

SQM is an integrated producer and distributor of specialty plant nutrients, iodine, lithium, potassium-related fertilizers and industrial chemicals.  Its products are based on the development of high quality natural resources that allow the Company to be a leader in costs, supported by a specialized international network with sales in over 110 countries. SQM's development strategy aims to maintain and strengthen the Company's position in each of its businesses.

The leadership strategy is based on the Company's competitive advantages and on the sustainable growth of the different markets in which it participates. SQM's main competitive advantages in its different businesses include:

  • Low production costs based on vast and high quality natural resources;
  • Know-how and its own technological developments in its various production processes;
  • Logistics infrastructure and high production levels that allow SQM to have low distribution costs;
  • High market share in all its core products;
  • International sales network with offices in 20 countries and sales in over 110 countries;
  • Synergies from the production of multiple products that are obtained from the same two natural resources;
  • Continuous new product development according to the specific needs of its different customers;
  • Conservative and solid financial position.

For further information, contact:

Gerardo Illanes 56-2-24252022 / gerardo.illanes@sqm.com Kelly O'Brien. 56-2-24252074 / kelly.obrien@sqm.com Carolyn McKenzie 56-2-24252280 / carolyn.mckenzie@sqm.com

For media inquiries, contact:

Maria Jose Velozo / maria.jose.velozo@sqm.com Alvaro Cifuentes / Alvaro.cifuentes@sqm.com Tamara Rebolledo / Tamara.rebolledo@sqm.com  (Northern Region)

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

This news release contains "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.  Forward-looking statements can be identified by words such as: "anticipate," "plan," "believe," "estimate," "expect," "strategy," "should," "will" and similar references to future periods.  Examples of forward-looking statements include, among others, statements we make concerning the Company's business outlook, future economic performance, anticipated profitability, revenues, expenses, or other financial items, anticipated cost synergies and product or service line growth.

Forward-looking statements are neither historical facts nor assurances of future performance.  Instead, they are estimates that reflect the best judgment of SQM management based on currently available information.  Because forward-looking statements relate to the future, they involve a number of risks, uncertainties and other factors that are outside of our control and could cause actual results to differ materially from those stated in such statements. Therefore, you should not rely on any of these forward-looking statements.  Readers are referred to the documents filed by SQM with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, specifically the most recent annual report on Form 20-F, which identifies important risk factors that could cause actual results to differ from those contained in the forward-looking statements. All forward-looking statements are based on information available to SQM on the date hereof and SQM assumes no obligation to update such statements, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise.

SOURCE Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile, S.A.