SANTIAGO, Chile, March 4, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile S.A. (SQM) (NYSE: SQM; Santiago Stock Exchange: SQM-B, SQM-A) reported today earnings for the twelve months ended December 31, 2014 of US$296.4 million (US$1.13 per ADR), a decrease from US$467.1 million (US$1.77 per ADR) for the twelve months ended December 31, 2013. Gross margin reached US$583.0 million (28.9% of revenues) for the twelve months ended December 31, 2014, lower than US$721.5 million (32.7% of revenues) recorded for the twelve months ended December 31, 2013. Revenues totaled US$2,014.2 million for the twelve months ended December 31, 2014, representing a decrease of 8.6% compared to US$2,203.1 million reported for the twelve months ended December 31, 2013.
The Company also announced earnings for the fourth quarter of 2014, reporting net income of US$78.0 million (US$0.30 per ADR) compared to US$69.0 million (US$0.26 per ADR) for the fourth quarter of 2013. This comparison is affected by the sale of mining rights to Antofagasta Minerals during the fourth quarter of 2014, which had a one-time, before-tax effect of US$13 million on net income. Gross margin for the fourth quarter of 2014 reached US$140.4 million, lower than the US$146.3 million recorded for the fourth quarter of 2014. Revenues totaled US$491.4 million, a decrease of approximately 0.2% compared to the fourth quarter of 2013, when revenues amounted to US$492.2 million.
SQM's Chief Executive Officer, Patricio Contesse, stated, "During 2014, we were impacted by lower prices in the iodine market; prices fell over 20% during 2014 when compared to 2013. Despite this lower pricing environment, we remain confident in our strong competitive position that has been reinforced by our cost reduction efforts and efficient operational processes. We will work to increase our market share in the future."
"Fertilizer markets were positive during 2014; we estimate that global demand in the potassium chloride market reached approximately 60 million tons, and we saw some price recovery in this market during the second half of 2014. In the specialty plant nutrition business, sales volumes increased over 3% while prices remained stable compared to 2013; this led to increased revenues in this business line. We expect this momentum to continue into 2015, when increased sales volumes are anticipated."
Mr. Contesse closed by saying, "Despite lower prices in iodine, nitrates and lithium during the fourth quarter 2014 compared to the fourth quarter 2013, our EBITDA margin increased to 36.9% from 35.5% percent during this same period. These numbers prove that our cost saving program has been successful, and we look forward to maintaining lower costs and remaining well-positioned to move quickly to meet any changes in market demand or market dynamics in all of the main businesses in which we sell."
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SQM is an integrated producer and distributor of specialty plant nutrients, iodine, lithium, potassium-related fertilizers and industrial chemicals. Its products are based on the development of high quality natural resources that allow the Company to be a leader in costs, supported by a specialized international network with sales in over 115 countries. SQM's development strategy aims to maintain and strengthen the Company's position in each of its businesses.
The leadership strategy is based on the Company's competitive advantages and on the sustainable growth of the different markets in which it participates. SQM's main competitive advantages in its different businesses include:
- Low production costs based on vast and high quality natural resources;
- Know-how and its own technological developments in its various production processes;
- Logistics infrastructure and high production levels that allow SQM to have low distribution costs;
- High market share in all its core products;
- International sales network with offices in 20 countries and sales in over 115 countries;
- Synergies from the production of multiple products that are obtained from the same two natural resources;
- Continuous new product development according to the specific needs of its different customers;
- Conservative and solid financial position.
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Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
This news release contains "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements can be identified by words such as: "anticipate," "plan," "believe," "estimate," "expect," "strategy," "should," "will" and similar references to future periods. Examples of forward-looking statements include, among others, statements we make concerning the Company's business outlook, future economic performance, anticipated profitability, revenues, expenses, or other financial items, anticipated cost synergies and product or service line growth.
Forward-looking statements are neither historical facts nor assurances of future performance. Instead, they are estimates that reflect the best judgment of SQM management based on currently available information. Because forward-looking statements relate to the future, they involve a number of risks, uncertainties and other factors that are outside of our control and could cause actual results to differ materially from those stated in such statements. Therefore, you should not rely on any of these forward-looking statements. Readers are referred to the documents filed by SQM with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, specifically the most recent annual report on Form 20-F, which identifies important risk factors that could cause actual results to differ from those contained in the forward-looking statements. All forward-looking statements are based on information available to SQM on the date hereof and SQM assumes no obligation to update such statements, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise.
SOURCE Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile, S.A.