Fertiglobe records lower Q4 profit amid fall in nitrogen prices

Net profit to the end of December stood at $94.5 million compared with $171.9 million a year earlier

Fertiglobe said it achieved $25 million of run-rate savings as at the end of 2023. Photo: Fertiglobe
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Fertiglobe, the world’s largest seaborne exporter of urea and ammonia, reported a slide in its fourth-quarter net profit as its revenue slumped on a drop in nitrogen product prices.

Net profit attributable to owners of the company for the three months to the end of December stood at $94.5 million, compared with $171.9 million in the same period a year earlier, Fertiglobe said in a filing on Wednesday to the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, where its shares are traded.

Revenue in the quarter fell about 39 per cent year-on-year to $645.9 million.

Fertiglobe will pay a dividend of $200 million for the second half of 2023, depending on shareholder approval.

Total dividends paid for last year will reach $475 million, including $275 million already paid in the final quarter of 2023, the company said.

“Looking ahead, the company’s strategy is to continue balancing dividend payments with selective investment in value accretive growth projects, supported by healthy free cash flow conversion and a robust balance sheet,” said Ahmed El Hoshy, chief executive of Fertiglobe.

The company said it achieved $25 million of run-rate savings as at the end of 2023 and that it was “on track” to realise its $50 million target by the end of the current year.

Fertiglobe's full-year net profit fell 72 per cent to $348.9 million, while revenue more than halved to $2.42 billion.

The company, a joint venture between Adnoc and the Netherlands-listed OCI, produces 6.7 million tonnes of urea and ammonia annually at four units in the UAE, Egypt and Algeria, making it the largest producer of nitrogen fertilisers in the Mena region.

In December, Adnoc agreed to purchase OCI Global’s entire stake in Fertiglobe for $3.62 billion.

The deal, which is expected to close this year, will make Adnoc the majority shareholder in Fertiglobe, increasing its shareholding to 86.2 per cent, with 13.8 per cent remaining in free float on the ADX.

“The deal … will enable Fertiglobe to further leverage Adnoc's resources, expertise, and network to pursue new growth opportunities, especially in the emerging markets of clean ammonia and blue hydrogen,” Mr El Hoshy said.

“Our priorities will be to continue to unlock potential in our core products of urea and ammonia.”

In 2023, the Urea Egypt benchmark was 49 per cent lower year-on-year at an average price of $386 per metric tonne, while the Ammonia Middle East benchmark was down 58 per cent at an average price of $415 per metric tonne, Fertiglobe said.

Fertiliser prices are linked to the prices of key feedstocks such as natural gas and coal.

Dutch Title Transfer Facility gas futures, the benchmark European contract, surged to a record high of €345 ($369.24) a megawatt hour following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

Prices fell significantly in 2023 on high gas stockpiles in Europe and growing imports of liquefied natural gas on the continent.

Fertiglobe said the medium- to long-term outlook for nitrogen markets would continue to be supported by limited capacity additions and healthy demand growth.

Updated: February 14, 2024, 9:41 AM