Chile's SQM scales back investment amid lower prices

viernes 14 de marzo de 2014 08:22 GYT

SANTIAGO, March 14 (Reuters) - Chilean fertilizer group SQM is cutting back on its investments this year amid falling world prices for potassium chloride and iodine.

SQM, which is also the world's biggest lithium producer, said it would spend about $150 million dollars this year, down from around $372 million in 2013.

"After intense investment during the past 5 years, investment is expected to decrease in 2014," the company said in a presentation.

Like other potash producers, the group was hit hard in 2013 by a decline in the price of the fertilizer ingredient after Russia's Uralkali quit a key alliance.

It was also shaken up by accusations from the local securities regulator that its chairman, Julio Ponce - the former son-in-law of late dictator Augusto Pinochet - and other executives and traders had bought shares below market prices and then resold them at above-market prices.