Intrepid Q3 net income surges 118% year-over-year to US$25.5M as sales rise 24.6% to US$114M; company attributes results in part to its focus on increasing granulation capacity

DENVER , November 3, 2011 (press release) – Intrepid Potash, Inc. (NYSE:IPI) announced third quarter 2011 financial results today, with quarterly net income of $25.5 million and $0.34 of earnings per diluted share. These results included the recognition of $0.03 per diluted share of income, net of tax, associated with recording an estimated additional refundable employment-related credit from the State of New Mexico. Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (Adjusted EBITDA1) for the third quarter of 2011 were $51.0 million.

“Continued severe drought conditions in Texas required us to look to other markets for this production. Through our longstanding customer relationships and new affiliations we have been able to develop, we were very successful in marketing these tons”

“The domestic potash market, buoyed by solid crop prices and the strength of overall farmer economics, remained firm during the third quarter,” said Bob Jornayvaz, Intrepid’s Executive Chairman of the Board. “The flexibility we have built into our production facilities together with our marketing expertise resulted in solid sales for the quarter, despite the various weather challenges that impacted our customers. The sequential $27 per ton improvement in our average net realized sales price for potash from the second quarter reflects the upward pricing momentum during the quarter and our ability to reach out and fulfill customer demand. We believe that continued strong crop economics make clear the value of balanced fertilization and therefore will incentivize farmers to apply nutrients at normal rates this fall in preparation for the 2012 growing season.”

Third Quarter 2011 Highlights:

* Potash sales in the third quarter of 2011 were 190,000 tons as compared to 221,000 tons in the same period of 2010.
* Potash production increased four percent in the third quarter of 2011 to 173,000 tons compared to 166,000 tons in the same period a year ago.
* Average net realized sales price2 for potash was $489 per ton ($539 per metric tonne) in the third quarter of 2011, compared to $343 per ton ($378 per metric tonne) in the third quarter of 2010 and $462 per ton ($509 per metric tonne) in the second quarter of 2011.
* Cash operating cost of goods sold, net of by-product credits3, for potash was $175 per ton in the third quarter of 2011. This compares to $171 per ton in the third quarter of 2010.
* Sales of langbeinite, which Intrepid markets as Trio®, were 54,000 tons in the third quarter of 2011 compared to 45,000 tons in the same period a year ago.
* Langbeinite production in the third quarter of 2011 was 35,000 tons compared to 32,000 tons in the third quarter of 2010.
* Average net realized sales price for Trio® was $251 per ton ($277 per metric tonne) in the third quarter of 2011. This compares to $173 per ton ($191 per metric tonne) in the third quarter of 2010 and $222 per ton ($245 per metric tonne) in the second quarter of 2011.
* Average gross margin in the third quarter of 2011 for the sale of potash was $249 per ton or 51 percent, compared to $122 per ton or 36 percent in the third quarter of 2010. Average gross margin for the sale of Trio® was $5 per ton or two percent compared to $3 per ton or two percent in the same period of 2010.
* Capital investment in the third quarter of 2011 totaled approximately $42.0 million.
* As of September 30, 2011, Intrepid had $168.8 million of cash, cash equivalents, and investments; no outstanding debt; and $250.0 million available under the company’s unsecured, revolving credit facility.

Intrepid’s third quarter results reflect our success in opportunistically marketing our products. “Continued severe drought conditions in Texas required us to look to other markets for this production. Through our longstanding customer relationships and new affiliations we have been able to develop, we were very successful in marketing these tons,” said Mr. Jornayvaz. “Our ability to address these challenges was greatly aided by the additional flexibility we have built into our production system to produce those products most highly valued in the market. Our focus on increasing granulation capacity has paid off as we are better able to respond to shifting market dynamics.”

Mr. Jornayvaz continued, “It is important to recognize the strength of our capital investment program as we deliver on the major capital investments in our facilities. This can be seen in the installation and commissioning of the underground stacker at our West mine last year, the significant upgrade to compaction at our Moab plant, the progress made on our new compactor in Wendover, the approval of a new compaction project at our North plant in Carlsbad, and the near-term completion of the Langbeinite Recovery Improvement Project (“LRIP”) at our East facility. These projects demonstrate our commitment to increasing production and marketing flexibility. As to the LRIP project, we have already successfully tied in selected pieces of equipment, we expect the dense media separation plant to be operational before the end of the year, and we expect the granulation plant to be operational in early 2012. We continue to be on track for the issuance of the Record of Decision from the Bureau of Land Management on our proposed HB Solar Solution Mine during the first quarter of 2012. These significant capital projects will provide us even greater flexibility to meet our customers’ needs as we grow our production.”

Market Conditions

Crop economics for U.S. farmers remain strong with continued tight domestic stock-to-use ratios for corn and soybeans, as well as strong demand for grains worldwide. We continue to believe that farmers should have the economic resources and motivation to replace the nutrients drawn from the soil and thereby capitalize on the strong commodity markets. Harvest in most parts of the United States began in earnest in the first half of October and has intensified in recent weeks. We recognize that dealers have carried a healthy level of potash inventory into the fall of 2011, unlike in 2010. The timing of fall harvest, and ultimately how long the fall weather window stays open for fertilizer applications, will be key determinates of fall demand.

Outside of the domestic agricultural market, we have begun to see an uptick in demand in the industrial market. As shale gas develops and new techniques to improve initial and ultimate recoveries from oil, natural gas and liquids continue to reshape the energy industry, we anticipate pockets of increased demand for standard-sized potash. Industrial demand has increased 26 percent in the first nine months of 2011 over the same period in 2010.

Third Quarter Results and Recent Performance

Income before income taxes for the third quarter of 2011 was $42.1 million compared to $19.8 million in the third quarter of 2010. Cash flows from operating activities were $50.3 million for the third quarter of 2011 compared to $8.6 million for the third quarter of 2010. Adjusted net income for the third quarter of 2011 was $23.4 million compared to Adjusted net income of $11.7 million in the same period last year.

Potash

During the third quarter of 2011, Intrepid produced 173,000 tons of potash and sold 190,000 tons of potash compared to 166,000 tons produced and 221,000 tons sold in the third quarter of 2010. Production results for the quarter were consistent with expectations and reflect the scheduled annual turnaround maintenance work at the East facility, and the completion of the summer evaporation season and commencement of harvest in mid-September at Intrepid’s Moab, Utah mine. As noted in Intrepid’s previous release dated October 13, 2011, the decrease in tons sold as compared to the third quarter of 2010 is attributed in part to certain customer requests to delay shipment of committed orders of potash due to interruptions in rail service caused by persistent high water levels in certain customer locations along the Missouri River compared to an exceptionally strong third quarter in 2010. Intrepid also focused on marketing volumes that normally are sold closer to our Carlsbad plant locations into other markets less affected by weather, albeit at higher freight costs.

Intrepid’s cash operating cost of goods sold for potash, net of by-product credits of $8 per ton, was $175 per ton in the third quarter of 2011 compared to $171 per ton, net of by-product credits of $7 per ton, in the third quarter of 2010. Intrepid’s slightly higher per ton cash operating cost of goods sold for potash during the third quarter of 2011 resulted from the lower relative production realized during the quarter associated with the scheduled maintenance turnaround at our East facility. The effect of the turnaround, and the time required to bring the plant back to full capacity following the scheduled work, was diminished production during the quarter spread over escalated maintenance costs, thereby increasing the cash production costs per ton. Given the timing of the turnaround in September, a portion of the resulting higher per ton cash operating costs were recognized in the third quarter, and will also be reflected in the ensuing periods when the associated inventory is sold.

Langbeinite – Trio®

Demand for all grades of Trio® remained strong during the third quarter of 2011 and Intrepid expects this strong demand for Trio® to continue through the balance of 2011 and beyond. Because of this demand and the decreased production in the third quarter from our East plant, Intrepid finished the quarter with very low inventory levels for both granular and standard-sized Trio® product.

Intrepid sold 54,000 tons of Trio® in the third quarter of 2011 at an average net realized sales price of $251 per ton, which was $29 per ton higher than in the second quarter of 2011. This compares to 45,000 tons of Trio® sold at an average net realized sales price of $173 per ton in the prior year’s third quarter. The sequential improvement in Trio® pricing in the third quarter of 2011 resulted from realization of the price increases implemented in August 2011, as well as continued improvements in pricing parity in the export markets for both standard and granular Trio®.

Capital Investment

Total capital investment for the full year 2011 is expected to be towards the top end of the previously disclosed range of $140 to $165 million. During the third quarter, Intrepid continued to make significant progress on a number of major capital projects, investing approximately $41.9 million, which brings the company’s capital investments during the first nine months of 2011 to approximately $98.1 million. The fourth quarter has a high level of investment due to the timing of equipment deliveries, commissioning of the Wendover compactor, and commissioning of a significant portion of the LRIP. The total investment for the LRIP remains on budget at approximately $85 to $90 million.

Intrepid continues to execute on it strategy to increase granulation capacity for both potash and Trio®. Beyond the addition of granulation capacity at its Moab, Utah facility last year, Intrepid is expanding its compaction capacity in Wendover, Utah and in Carlsbad, New Mexico and adding granulation as part of the LRIP. Intrepid remains focused on matching its production of standard potash with the industrial sales opportunities from both its Utah and New Mexico operations. Further, for Trio®, Intrepid remains focused on having the flexibility to be able to granulate all of its langbeinite production to capture additional margin opportunities in this premium market.

In October 2011, Intrepid’s Board of Directors approved the construction of a new compaction plant to replace its current compaction facility at its North plant, near Carlsbad, New Mexico. The North compaction project is designed to increase the capacity of the North plant to handle all of the anticipated production from the HB Solar Solution Mine project and the planned expansions of mining and milling capacity at the West facilities. The North compaction project is expected to be completed in two phases to coincide with these production increases, with completion of the first phase planned for early 2013 and completion of the second phase planned for 2014. Intrepid expects to initiate the permitting process for this project in the fourth quarter of 2011. Total capital investment for the project is expected to be approximately $95 to $100 million, of which approximately $9.1 million has been invested to date.

The Environmental Impact Statement (“EIS”) review being conducted by the Bureau of Land Management for our proposed HB Solar Solution Mine continues to progress in a meaningful manner. The current schedule for receiving the Record of Decision on the project remains in the first quarter of 2012. As Intrepid moves closer to the expected Record of Decision date, we have updated the project cost estimates to incorporate changes in scope, cost escalations related to commodities, labor, inflationary effects, and consideration of certain items described as alternatives within the published draft EIS. The Board of Directors recently approved the updated authorization for expenditure associated with the HB Solar Solution Mine to an estimated $200 to $230 million capital investment. The approval of this authorization was based on the evaluation and conclusion that the project continues to be an important and financially attractive capital investment that fits within the company’s overall capital strategy of increasing productivity and decreasing cash operating cost per ton. Intrepid expects to invest the bulk of this capital after it receives all of the necessary approvals and permits from the state and federal regulatory agencies. Intrepid has invested $30.5 million to date in engineering, design, permitting, and certain long lead-time equipment purchases.

In addition to the updates provided above, several other capital investment activities progressed during the quarter at our New Mexico and Utah facilities.

New Mexico

* In addition to replacing two miners in the underground fleet, Intrepid added an additional mine panel at each of its East and West mines. The new West mine panel became operational in the third quarter of 2011 and the benefit from the East mine panel is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2012.
* Intrepid completed the installation and commissioning of distributed control systems and increased instrumentation at its production facilities at the West underground mine and our East surface mill in the third quarter of 2011. During the third quarter of 2011, Intrepid decided to defer the planned distributed control work in the East underground as mining operations have been operating at rates that are greater than the plant operating capacities.

Utah

* Intrepid is continuing to evaluate additional solution mining opportunities at our Moab facility. Intrepid anticipates drilling two core holes beginning late in 2011 or early 2012 to obtain further data as to the development of our Moab resource.
* Intrepid continued construction of the new compaction facility in Wendover, which will allow Intrepid to granulate more of its potash production. Intrepid expects to have this project operational by the end of 2011 and be able to increase granular production beginning in 2012. Intrepid also continued construction of a new product warehouse at its Wendover facility. Intrepid expects the additional storage capacity to be in place in early 2012 to complement the completion of the new Wendover compaction plant.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Intrepid routinely posts information about Intrepid on its website under the Investor Relations tab. Intrepid’s website address is www.intrepidpotash.com.

Unless expressly stated otherwise or the context otherwise requires, references to “tons” in this press release refer to short tons. One short ton equals 2,000 pounds. One metric tonne, which many of our international competitors use, equals 1,000 kilograms or 2,204.68 pounds.

Since Adjusted net income and Adjusted EBITDA are non-GAAP financial measures, we make reference to their respective reconciliations in the accompanying non-GAAP reconciliation tables towards the end of this release and the associated financial tables provide the details to reconcile these numbers to U.S. GAAP line items. Average net realized sales price and cash operating cost of goods sold are defined in the text of this release and the associated financial tables provide additional details regarding these operating measures.

                 

INTREPID POTASH, INC.

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS (UNAUDITED)

FOR THE THREE AND NINE MONTHS ENDED SEPTEMBER 30, 2011 AND 2010

(In thousands, except share and per share amounts)

                 
    Three Months Ended     Nine Months Ended
    September 30, 2011   September 30, 2010     September 30, 2011   September 30, 2010
Sales   $ 114,000     $ 91,471       $ 338,351     $ 263,149  
Less:                  
Freight costs     7,602       7,831         22,320       23,170  
Warehousing and handling costs     3,556       2,893         10,617       7,935  
Cost of goods sold     55,547       53,812         161,257       162,482  
Costs associated with abnormal                  
production     -       -         -       470  
Other     188       127         695       666  
Gross Margin     47,107       26,808         143,462       68,426  
                   
Selling and administrative     8,277       6,439         24,134       21,021  
Accretion of asset retirement obligation     184       176         566       528  
Insurance settlements from property                  
and business losses     -       -         (12,500 )     -  
Other operating (income) loss     (3,115 )     271         (7,804 )     744  
Operating Income     41,761       19,922         139,066       46,133  
                   
Other Income (Expense)                  
Interest expense, including realized and                  
unrealized derivative gains and losses     (175 )     (430 )       (677 )     (1,462 )
Interest income     446       207         1,231       479  
Other income     22       147         340       296  
Income Before Income Taxes     42,054       19,846         139,960       45,446  
                   
Income Tax Expense     (16,547 )     (8,187 )       (55,466 )     (18,338 )
Net Income   $ 25,507     $ 11,659       $ 84,494     $ 27,108  
                   
Weighted Average Shares Outstanding:                  
Basic     75,202,504       75,101,446         75,172,912       75,077,260  
Diluted     75,300,272       75,143,542         75,277,594       75,133,775  
Earnings Per Share:                  
Basic   $ 0.34     $ 0.16       $ 1.12     $ 0.36  
Diluted   $ 0.34     $ 0.16       $ 1.12     $ 0.36  
                   
           

 


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