Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile S.A. Reports Q1 2024 Financial Results

Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile S.A. Reports Q1 2024 Financial Results

Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile S.A. (SQM) revealed a financial loss of $3.04 per share for the first quarter of 2024, a stark contrast to the $2.63 earnings per share in the corresponding period the previous year. Excluding one-time items, the company's earnings per share stood at 80 cents, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of $1.72. SQM reported revenues of $1,084.5 million for the quarter, reflecting a decrease of approximately 52% year over year, though it outperformed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1,056.2 million.

The decline in revenues was primarily attributed to lower average sales prices, despite SQM achieving record-high sales volumes in the iodine business as well as increased volumes in the lithium and specialty nutrition and potassium segments in the reported quarter. The revenues from SQM's Lithium and Derivatives segment plummeted by about 67% year over year to $547.4 million, as higher sales volumes were eclipsed by significantly lower average sales prices. Another segment, Specialty Plant Nutrients ("SPN"), generated revenues of $207.8 million, marking a drop of around 6% year over year, with sales suffering from notably reduced average prices. Despite these challenges, the revenues from the Iodine and Derivatives unit saw a slight increase of around 0.2% year over year to $240.1 million, supported by higher sales volumes but tempered by lower sales prices.

SQM's cash reserves and equivalents were reported at $1,315.7 million at the end of the quarter, reflecting a sequential increase of about 26%. On the other hand, the company's long-term debt stood at $2,940.3 million, indicating a decrease of roughly 8% year over year. Looking ahead, SQM anticipates an uptick in lithium market demand in 2024, projecting sales volumes to reach around 200,000 metric tons based on the expected market growth, particularly in China. Additionally, the company foresees sales volumes rising in sync with the spike in potassium nitrate market demand in SPN and increasing sales volumes for iodine and derivatives.