Chemicals manufacturer Nufarm has posted a 53 per cent fall in profit for the six months to January this year, and has slashed its outlook for the rest of the year.
Excluding the impact of material items, Nufarm booked a net profit after tax of $10.6 million, down from the $23.9m posted for the first half of 2012.
The company said performance across its global business had been mixed, with hot and dry conditions in Australia reducing demand for its agricultural chemicals.
“Australia experienced unseasonably dry and hot conditions for most of the first half period, particularly in the northern summer cropping regions,” it said.
“”With low levels of moisture and unusually low pest and disease pressure, demand for crop protection products was consequently very weak and increased competition for fewer sales opportunities also impacted on pricing and margins.”
Overseas the company said its market in Brazil had generated a “significant improvement” in first half earnings, with the North American and European businesses also improving performance.
In outlining its earnings for the rest of the year, Nufarm said conditions in Australia would remain “extremely challenging” with poor weather and foreign exchange losses hurting the bottom line.
Outside Australia the company said it was confident it could improve performance, but the total profit after tax was expected to be lower than the previous year, coming within a range of $80m-$95m.