September 18, 2019 / 12:53 PM / 9 months ago

Moroccan phosphate miner OCP reports 17% rise in H1 profit

RABAT, Sept 18 (Reuters) - Morocco’s OCP, the world’s leading phosphate exporter, reported a 17% rise in half-year net profit to 1.79 billion dirhams ($185 million) on Wednesday.

Higher prices and demand for phosphoric acid helped offset lower prices for fertilisers and phosphate rock, OCP said, noting an improvement in exports to Asia.

Its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) margin rose to 31% from 30% while revenue rose to 27.58 billion from 26.59 billion dirhams.

Capital expenditure totalled 5.85 billion dirhams, the fertiliser and phosphate company said.

It lowered its net financial debt to 39 billion dirhams from 44.9 billion a year earlier.

OCP, which is 95% state-owned, is the world’s largest phosphate exporter and controls 75% of the world’s reserves.

Phosphates and its by-products were Morocco’s third-largest export after the automotive and the agricultural sectors, data for the first seven months of 2019 showed, according to the foreign exchange regulator.

OCP in recent years has stepped up investment in phosphates-based fertilisers in Africa, where it plans production plants to tap into what it sees as a potential five-fold increase in fertiliser use from about 5 million tonnes a year currently. (Reporting by Ahmed Eljechtimi; editing by Jason Neely)

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