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Norway's Yara Maiden shares fall

Just a few weeks after being hived off from Norsk Hydro ASA, Yara ASA said maiden first-quarter net income jumped by 94% on strong demand, higher prices and exchange-rate gains.

Just a few weeks after being hived off from Norsk Hydro ASA, Yara ASA said maiden first-quarter net income jumped by 94% on strong demand, higher prices and exchange-rate gains.

The world's largest fertilizer company reported net income of NOK962 million ($1=NOK6.7450), or NOK3.01 a share, in the three months up to 31 March, up from NOK496 million, or NOK1.55 a share, in the year-earlier period.

With gains from movements in the kroner-dollar stripped out, EPS would have come in at NOK2.40, the company said.

The numbers are considered pro-forma, as Yara was formed March 25 following its spin-off as the Agri division of Norwegian conglomerate Norsk Hydro.

"This quarter has produced one of the best quarterly results throughout its 99-year history," said Chief Executive Officer Thorleif Enger in a statement, referring to Yara's previous incarnation inside Norsk Hydro.

Sales for the period were NOK10.9 billion, up 20% from NOK9.11 billion a year earlier.

The company credited stretched supply-demand fundamentals, which helped push urea prices 30% above a historical average. Ammonia prices were also well above historical levels, and peaked in January at twice normal rates. Urea and ammonia are two of Yara's principal products.

Analysts expressed general disappointment that Yara's first set of results were not better.

"Clearly the (earnings and sales volumes) numbers are very good, but we expected even better," said a London-based analyst.

Around 1010 GMT, Yara's share price in Oslo was down NOK1.7, or 3.4%, to NOK48.10.

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