(SQM, 28.Feb.2019) — Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile S.A. reported earnings today for the twelve months ended December 31, 2018 of US$439.8 million (US$1.67 per ADR), an increase from US$427.7 million (US$1.63 per ADR) reported for the twelve months ended December 31, 2017. Gross profit reached US$782.3 million (34.5% of revenues) for the twelve months ended December 31, 2018, higher than US$762.5 million (35.3% of revenues) recorded for the twelve months ended December 31, 2017. Revenues totaled US$2,265.8 million for the twelve months ended December 31, 2018, representing an increase of 5.0% compared to US$2,157.3 million reported for the twelve months ended December 31, 2017.
The Company also announced earnings for the fourth quarter of 2018, reporting net income of US$108.6 million (US$0.41 per ADR) compared to US$110.5 million (US$0.42 per ADR) for the fourth quarter of 2017. Gross profit for the fourth quarter 2018 reached US$201.5 million; lower than the US$216.1 million recorded for the fourth quarter 2017. Revenues for the fourth quarter 2018 totaled US$565.2 million, a decrease of approximately 1.6% compared to the fourth quarter 2017, when revenues amounted to US$574.8 million.
SQM’s Chief Executive Officer, Ricardo Ramos, stated: “During 2018, our strong results were led by higher average prices in the lithium business line, higher specialty plant nutrient sales volumes, and higher average prices and sales volumes in the iodine business line. These factors offset the impact of the lower sales volumes of potassium chloride. The lithium market continued to grow at unprecedented levels. We believe that demand growth surpassed 25% in 2018, led by growth in the electric vehicle market. We believe electric vehicle penetration levels reached 2% in 2018, and we expect these levels to increase significantly in the future. As a result of strong demand growth, average prices in 2018 were significantly higher than prices reported in 2017; as anticipated, prices in the fourth quarter also remained strong. We believe lithium demand could grow at least 20% in 2019, and we will invest accordingly in this growing market.”
He continued by saying, “In recent weeks, the north of Chile, including areas near our operations, was impacted by heavy rains. Our first priority was the safety of our employees, and we are pleased to announce that no injuries were reported. Following this climactic event, we have been very active in helping the neighboring communities which were impacted, and suffered during the rain. Finally, while some of our facilities were not operating at 100% for a short period of time, we do not believe that there will be a lasting effect on our sales volumes or revenues in coming quarters. We will continue assessing any potential impacts of these rains, and will inform the market if anything relevant materializes.”