The Saskatoon-based company's net income for the three months ended Dec. 31 was $407 milion, or 49 cents per share —up more than 75 per cent from the fourth quarter of 2013, which included $60 million in severance-related charges.
The fourth-quarter profit was ahead of analyst estimates compiled by Thomson Reuters, which called for 47 cents per share of net income and 46 cents per share after adjustments.
Profit for the full year in 2014 was $1.82 per share or $1.5 billion — at the high end of the company's guidance to investors but down from 2013.
Revenue was $1.9 billion in the fourth quarter and $7.1 billion for the 12 months ended Dec. 31, 2014, compared with $1.5 billion in the 2013 fourth quarter and $7.3 billion for the full year.
Net income in the fourth quarter of 2013 was $230 million or 26 cents per diluted share and profit for all of 2013 was $1.785 billion or $2.04 per share.
PotashCorp also said it will raise its dividend almost nine per cent — to 38 cents per share from 35 cents — starting with its next quarterly payout in May in a sign of the company's confidence in future cash flow and demand for its fertlizer products.
Besides potash, the company produces nitrogen and phosphate products also used to boost crop production.
"As we look ahead, we see a supportive market environment – most notably in potash," said Jochen Tilk, the company's president and chief executive officer.
It's estimating the first quarter's profit will be about the same in a range from 45 to 55 cents per share and that 2015 earnings will be higher than last year's at between $1.90 to $2.20 per common share.