MOSCOW, May 25 (Reuters) - Russian fertiliser producer Phosagro plans to boost its output by between 7 and 10 percent in 2016, it said on Wednesday, after reporting a 60 percent rise in first-quarter net profit.
Like many other Russian exporters, Phosagro, which competes with U.S. firm Mosaic, has been helped by rouble weakness, which holds down its costs in dollar terms and partially offsets a decline in fertiliser prices.
Its first-quarter net profit rose to 22.6 billion roubles ($303 million) from a year ago helped by the rouble weakening and an 8 percent increase in sales volumes.
Prices for phosphate-based fertilisers bottomed out below $350 per tonne in February and were near levels seen during the 2009 global financial crisis, Phosagro Chief Executive Andrey Guryev said in a statement.
“At the same time, we did not experience any dramatic decline in demand as in 2009. Fertiliser price movements in the first quarter were mostly driven by global uncertainty related to overall pressure on oil and other commodity prices,” Guryev added.
Phosagro sees seasonal demand from key markets like India, Pakistan, Brazil and Argentina starting in June and steadying the market.
It plans to increase production this year by 7 to 10 percent, from 6.8 million tonnes in 2015, Phosagro told a conference call for analysts after the results’ publication.
Its second-quarter production will, however, be slightly lower than the 1.9 million tonnes it produced in the first-quarter, due to maintenance, the company added.
Its first-quarter adjusted earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose 3 percent to 25.2 billion roubles ($338 million), while revenue rose 12 percent to 56.1 billion roubles, it said.
The board of Phosagro, which exports to Latin America, India and Europe, recommended a dividend payment of 8.2 billion roubles ($123 million) in total on Tuesday.
Shares in Phosagro rose 0.1 percent in Moscow on Wednesday, slightly underperforming the MICEX index which rose 0.8 percent. ($1 = 65.7501 roubles) (Reporting by Polina Devitt and Natalia Shurmina; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)