Problems hit Incitec

Incitec Pivot has warned of a $23.5 million hit to its second-half profit after production problems at its Phosphate Hill fertiliser plant that resulted in lost output of about 180,000 tonnes.

Incitec Pivot has warned of a $23.5 million hit to its second-half profit after production problems at its Phosphate Hill fertiliser plant that resulted in lost output of about 180,000 tonnes.

Production of ammonium phosphates at the plant is expected to fall to 400,000 tonnes in the second half, restricting year-to-September output to 763,000 tonnes, well short of the expected output of about 950,000 tonnes.

It follows problems at the group's Mount Isa plant that resulted in four weeks of lost production and cost about $25 million to rectify.

"Following the unplanned outage at Mount Isa earlier in this financial year ... the root cause was found to lie in the 2010 turnaround for Phosphate Hill and Mount Isa operations," Incitec chief executive James Fazzino said. A review of the group's manufacturing was being finalised with a specific focus on its maintenance programs, he said.

In the year to September 2012, Incitec Pivot earned a net profit of $405 million, with analysts forecasting a net profit of about $320 million this financial year because of the downturn in fertiliser prices, along with lower resources sector demand, before the earnings hit disclosed on Tuesday.

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