Mosaic Co. said Tuesday it was cutting its annual dividend to 60 cents a share, down 45% from a previous rate of $1.10 a share, as the fertilizer company looks to maintain a strong financial position as the market gradually recovers. The company reported fourth-quarter earnings that declined to $12 million, or 3 cents a share, from $155 million, or 44 cents a share, in the same period a year ago, as lower phosphate raw material costs offset lower phosphate and potash prices. The results included a negative impact of 23 cents a share from "notable items." The FactSet consensus for earnings per share was 13 cents. Revenue fell to $1.86 billion from $2.16 billion, but beat the FactSet consensus of $1.80 billion. Phosphate sales volume of 2.5 million tonnes beat the company's guidance of 2.1 million to 2.4 million tonnes, while potash sales volume of 2.0 million tonnes was in line with guidance of 1.9 million to 2.0 million tonnes. "While we are confident the market bottom is behind us, the pace of improvement is expected to be gradual," said Chief Executive Joc O'Rourke. "s a reflection of our commitment to investors to maintain a strong financial position, we have reduced our annual dividend payout to $0.60 per share." The stock, which was still inactive in premarket trade, has run up 29% over the past 12 months while the S&P 500 has climbed 22%.
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