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Late spring, rail delivery woes cause of $1M Q1 net loss: Nutrien

Saskatoon-based Nutrien said a late start to the planting season and rail shipment delays were to blame for a $1 million loss in the first quarter. File / Global News

Nutrien Ltd. says a tough winter that slowed potash shipments to Canadian ports and a late spring start to planting season in Canada and the U.S. are responsible for a first-quarter net loss of $1 million.

The company formed at the start of the year out of the merger of Potash Corp. and Agrium Inc. earned 16 cents per share in the three months ended March 31, missing analyst expectations for earnings per share of 20 cents according to Thomson Reuters.

READ MORE: Mining Association of Canada says Nutrien layoffs part of systemic rail issue

Revenue was in line with expectations at $3.7 billion.

The Saskatoon-based company announced two weeks ago it would lay off staff temporarily at two of its potash mines in Saskatchewan due in part to transportation backlogs in the rail system.

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Spokesman Will Tigley says 470 employees at the Vanscoy Mine were laid off on April 27 and brought back to work by May 3. About 140 people at its Allan Mine were laid off last Sunday.

READ MORE: Nutrien to lay off hundreds at Vanscoy, Allan mines

Nutrien says it expects better results this year despite the first-quarter setback.

It is raising its earnings target for 2018 to a range of $2.20 to $2.60, up two per cent.

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