(Adds comments from the company)
RABAT, March 25 (Reuters) - The world’s leading phosphate exporter, Morocco’s Office Cherifien de Phosphate (OCP), reported an 11.7 percent fall in 2014 net profit to 7.74 billion dirhams ($790 million) hurt by lower global prices.
State-run OCP, a major earner of foreign currency for Morocco, has been raising output in recent years to help offset a slide in prices.
Prices of phosphate rock, an essential ingredient for producing fertiliser, fell to $115 per tonne in 2014 from around $145 per tonne in 2013 and $185 per tonne in 2012.
The company aims to raise output to 47 million tonnes of crude phosphate rock in 2017 from around 34 million tonnes last year.
Higher output last year helped the company to raise revenue to 48.9 billion dirhams from 46.9 billion.
OCP said fertiliser production will hit 10 million tonnes in 2017 which would make the company the world’s top producer.
EBITDA margin increased by 18 percent from a year earlier, additional data sent to Reuters showed. No overall figure was given for EBITDA -- earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation.
OCP raised $1.55 billion with a debut international bond in 2014 to finance investment including a series of acquisitions.
OCP also reached an agreement last year to buy U.S. headquartered Bunge’s 50-percent stake in their Moroccan fertiliser joint venture Bunge Maroc Phosphore S.A. for an undisclosed amount.
It has also signed an agreement to buy a 10 percent stake in Brazil-based company Fertilizantes Heringer S.A for 145 million Brazilian real. ($1 = 9.7989 Moroccan dirham) (Reporting by Aziz El Yaakoubi; editing by Jason Neely and Keith Weir)