Business Wire

Nutrien Delivers Record Third Quarter Results and Raises Full-Year Guidance

All amounts are in US dollars except as otherwise noted


SASKATOON, Saskatchewan--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nutrien Ltd. (TSX and NYSE: NTR) announced today its third quarter 2021 results, with net earnings of $726 million ($1.25 diluted earnings per share). Third-quarter adjusted net earnings1 were $1.38 per share and adjusted EBITDA1 was $1.6 billion.

Nutrien delivered record earnings in the third quarter driven by the decisive actions we made across our business units and leveraging our competitive advantages to benefit from strong market fundamentals. The results demonstrate our ability to efficiently and reliably deliver crop inputs and services to our customers amid global supply uncertainties, and we remain focused on our essential role to support global food security and sustainable food production,” commented Mayo Schmidt, Nutrien’s President and CEO.

We are raising full-year 2021 adjusted earnings guidance and expect this positive momentum to continue into 2022. We expect to generate significant free cash flow and to meaningfully strengthen our balance sheet through debt reduction, providing flexibility to deliver on future growth opportunities and return cash to shareholders,” added Mr. Schmidt.

Highlights:

  • Nutrien generated record adjusted EBITDA of $4.7 billion and free cash flow1 of $2.8 billion in the first nine months of 2021. We repurchased 2.4 million shares in the third quarter of 2021 and expect to reduce long-term debt by approximately $2 billion over the next six months.
  • Nutrien raised full-year 2021 adjusted EBITDA and adjusted net earnings per share1 guidance to $6.9 to $7.1 billion and $5.85 to $6.10 per share. We expect strong demand for crop inputs in the fourth quarter and tight global fertilizer supply and demand fundamentals to carry into 2022.
  • Nutrien Ag Solutions (“Retail”) delivered record adjusted EBITDA in the third quarter and first nine months of 2021 with 80 percent and 32 percent increases respectively compared to the same periods in 2020. Our Retail business delivered double digit revenue growth, which combined with the benefits of strategic procurement and proprietary products growth resulted in adjusted EBITDA margins increasing to 11 percent in the first nine months of 2021.

    Retail normalized comparable store sales1 reached 5 percent in the first nine months of 2021 while rolling four quarter adjusted EBITDA per US selling location1 was $1.4 million. Sales through our digitally-enabled retail platform were approximately $1.9 billion in the first nine months of 2021 and we are beginning to roll out the interface in Australia. We announced five transactions in Brazil since the start of 2020 and expect to generate over 30 percent of our Retail adjusted EBITDA from regions outside of the US in 2021.
  • Potash adjusted EBITDA increased 131 percent in the third quarter of 2021 and increased 74 percent in the first nine months of 2021 compared to the same periods in 2020. We achieved record sales volumes in the first nine months of 2021 due to our capability to quickly ramp up production from our flexible, low-cost network of six mines and expect to surge production to an annualized run-rate of 17 million tonnes during the fourth quarter.
  • Nitrogen adjusted EBITDA was 173 percent higher in the third quarter of 2021 and increased 70 percent in the first nine months of 2021 compared to the same periods in 2020. In the third quarter of 2021, we completed phase 1 of our nitrogen brownfield expansion projects and anticipate to fully benefit from this expanded capacity in 2022, which is expected to generate attractive returns on investment. We also started a second phase of brownfield projects that is expected to add approximately 500,000 tonnes of annualized, low-cost and environmentally efficient production capacity over the next few years. We progressed previously announced decarbonization projects that are expected to reduce CO2 equivalent emissions by approximately one million tonnes by the end of 2023.
  • Phosphate adjusted EBITDA increased 193 percent in the third quarter of 2021 and 104 percent in the first nine months of 2021 compared to the same periods in 2020.

1 This financial measure, including related guidance, is a non-IFRS financial measure. See the “Non-IFRS Financial Measures” section for further information.

Management’s Discussion and Analysis

The following management’s discussion and analysis (“MD&A”) is the responsibility of management and is dated as of November 1, 2021. The Board of Directors (“Board”) of Nutrien carries out its responsibility for review of this disclosure principally through its audit committee, comprised exclusively of independent directors. The audit committee reviews and, prior to its publication approves this disclosure pursuant to the authority delegated to it by the Board. The term “Nutrien” refers to Nutrien Ltd. and the terms “we”, “us”, “our”, “Nutrien” and “the Company” refer to Nutrien and, as applicable, Nutrien and its direct and indirect subsidiaries on a consolidated basis. Additional information relating to Nutrien (which, except as otherwise noted, is not incorporated by reference herein), including our 2020 Annual Report dated February 18, 2021, which includes our annual audited consolidated financial statements and MD&A, and our Annual Information Form, each for the year ended December 31, 2020, can be found on SEDAR at www.sedar.com and on EDGAR at www.sec.gov. No update is provided to the disclosure in our annual MD&A except for material information since the date of our annual MD&A. The Company is a foreign private issuer under the rules and regulations of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”).

This MD&A is based on and should be read in conjunction with the Company’s unaudited interim condensed consolidated financial statements as at and for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2021 (“interim financial statements”) based on International Financial Reporting Standards (“IFRS”) as issued by the International Accounting Standards Board and prepared in accordance with International Accounting Standard 34 “Interim Financial Reporting” unless otherwise noted. This MD&A contains certain non-IFRS financial measures and forward-looking statements which are described in the “Non-IFRS Financial Measures” and the “Forward-Looking Statements” sections, respectively.

Market Outlook

Agriculture and Retail

  • Global grain and oilseed inventory is well below historic levels and crop prices and grower margins remain strong, which is supportive of crop input spending in key regions where we operate.
  • The North American harvest progressed ahead of historic levels and grower sentiment is positive, which supported a strong start to the fall application season in most regions. We expect growers to maximize planted acreage and yields in 2022 as projected US grower corn and soybean margins are approximately 60 percent and 35 percent, respectively, above 10-year average levels.
  • Brazilian growers are expected to increase total plantings by 5 to 7 million acres due to record grower profitability and are planting soybeans at an above-average pace due to supportive rainfalls. This is expected to result in higher crop input spending through the growing season.
  • Growers in Australia started harvesting winter crops and we expect them to benefit from the combination of above-average yields and high prices for crops like wheat, barley and canola.
  • The availability of crop inputs, including fertilizer and certain herbicides, has been impacted by global production and supply-chain issues. Nutrien is strategically positioned to cover fall commitments and expects limited impact to its crop protection product availability in the first half of 2022.

Crop Nutrient Markets

  • Global potash prices continue to increase in all key spot markets driven by record global demand and strong grower margins. We maintain our 2021 global shipment forecast between 69 and 71 million tonnes.
  • Global supply of potash is tight caused by competitor mine flooding, new project delays and a limited ability of most producers to meaningfully increase production. US and European sanctions imposed on Belarus are causing additional supply concerns due to potential impacts to vessel chartering and transaction execution in US dollars. Potash inventories remain below historic levels in key markets with China accessing strategic reserves. Nutrien remains committed to providing a reliable supply for our customers through our world-class distribution network, including Canpotex.
  • Soaring energy prices in Europe and China triggered nitrogen capacity shutdowns and reduced operating rates, rapidly tightening global nitrogen supply and shifting trade flows. Furthermore, the Chinese government ordered fertilizer producers to halt exports until June 2022, which is expected to significantly reduce Chinese urea and phosphate trade volumes.
  • Phosphate prices have been supported by the expected reduction in supply from China due to export restrictions and reduced US supply, compounded by tight inventories as a result of robust demand throughout 2021.

Financial Outlook and Guidance

Based on market factors detailed above, we are raising full-year 2021 adjusted EBITDA guidance to $6.9 to $7.1 billion from $6.0 to $6.4 billion and full-year 2021 adjusted net earnings guidance to $5.85 to $6.10 per share from $4.60 to $5.10 per share.

All guidance numbers, including those noted above are outlined in the table below. Refer to page 57 of Nutrien’s 2020 Annual Report for related assumptions and sensitivities.

2021 Guidance Ranges 1

 

Low

 

 

 

High

 

Adjusted net earnings per share 2

$

5.85

 

 

$

6.10

 

Adjusted EBITDA (billions) 2

$

6.9

 

 

$

7.1

 

Retail Adjusted EBITDA (billions)

$

1.75

 

 

$

1.80

 

Potash Adjusted EBITDA (billions)

$

2.65

 

 

$

2.75

 

Nitrogen Adjusted EBITDA (billions)

$

2.3

 

 

$

2.4

 

Phosphate Adjusted EBITDA (millions)

$

490

 

 

$

540

 

Potash sales tonnes (millions) 3

 

13.6

 

 

 

13.9

 

Nitrogen sales tonnes (millions) 3

 

10.7

 

 

 

10.9

 

Depreciation and amortization (billions)

$

1.9

 

 

$

2.0

 

Effective tax rate on adjusted earnings

 

24

%

 

 

25

%

Sustaining capital expenditures (billions) 2

$

1.15

 

 

$

1.25

 

1 See the “Forward-Looking Statements” section.

 

2 See the "Non-IFRS Financial Measures" section.

 

3 Manufactured products only. Nitrogen excludes ESN® and Rainbow products.

 

Consolidated Results

 

Three Months Ended September 30

 

Nine Months Ended September 30

(millions of US dollars)

2021

 

2020

 

% Change

 

2021

 

2020

 

% Change

Sales 1

6,024

 

4,227

 

43

 

20,445

 

16,856

 

21

Freight, transportation and distribution

220

 

204

 

8

 

653

 

653

 

-

Cost of goods sold

3,639

 

3,004

 

21

 

13,589

 

12,129

 

12

Gross margin 1

2,165

 

1,019

 

112

 

6,203

 

4,074

 

52

Expenses 1

1,108

 

1,741

 

(36)

 

3,249

 

3,575

 

(9)

Net earnings (loss)

726

 

(587)

 

n/m

 

1,972

 

143

 

n/m

Adjusted EBITDA 2

1,642

 

670

 

145

 

4,663

 

2,899

 

61

Cash (used in) provided by operating activities

(1,565)

 

(685)

 

128

 

249

 

545

 

(54)

Free cash flow ("FCF") 2

862

 

280

 

208

 

2,751

 

1,634

 

68

FCF including changes in non-cash operating working capital 2

(1,890)

 

(888)

 

113

 

(544)

 

34

 

n/m

1 Certain immaterial figures have been reclassified for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2020.

2 See the "Non-IFRS Financial Measures" section.

Net earnings and adjusted EBITDA increased significantly in the third quarter and first nine months of 2021 compared to the same periods in 2020 due to higher net realized selling prices across our nutrient businesses, higher potash sales volumes and earnings growth in Nutrien Ag Solutions (“Retail”), as well as, the non-cash impairment in the third quarter of 2020 that was primarily related to our phosphate business. Cash flow from operating activities decreased in the third quarter and first nine months of 2021 compared to the same periods in 2020 due to higher working capital requirements associated with much higher sales and higher value of fertilizers, while free cash flow increased by over $1 billion in the first nine months of 2021. The COVID-19 pandemic had a limited impact on our results during the third quarter and first nine months of 2021.

Segment Results

Our discussion of segment results set out on the following pages is a comparison of the results for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2021 to the results for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2020, unless otherwise noted.

Nutrien Ag Solutions (“Retail”)

 

Three Months Ended September 30

(millions of US dollars, except

Dollars

 

Gross Margin

 

Gross Margin (%)

as otherwise noted)

2021

 

2020

 

% Change

 

2021

 

2020

 

% Change

 

2021

 

2020

Sales

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crop nutrients

1,194

 

780

 

53

 

246

 

179

 

37

 

21

 

23

Crop protection products

1,469

 

1,328

 

11

 

374

 

256

 

46

 

25

 

19

Seed

140

 

103

 

36

 

56

 

27

 

107

 

40

 

26

Merchandise

265

 

234

 

13

 

44

 

37

 

19

 

17

 

16

Nutrien Financial 1

54

 

36

 

50

 

54

 

36

 

50

 

100

 

100

Services and other 1

276

 

296

 

(7)

 

194

 

183

 

6

 

70

 

62

Nutrien Financial elimination 2

(51)

 

(35)

 

46

 

(51)

 

(35)

 

46

 

100

 

100

 

3,347

 

2,742

 

22

 

917

 

683

 

34

 

27

 

25

Cost of goods sold

2,430

 

2,059

 

18

 

 

 

 

 

 

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