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Compass expects up to US$18M negative impact on Q4'18 sales

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Compass expects up to US$18M negative impact on Q4'18 sales

Compass Minerals International Inc.'s sales of highway de-icing salt products in the fourth quarter of 2018 declined to around 2.8 million tonnes, from 3 million tonnes in the comparable 2017 period.

"Although significant snow activity occurred in November in our North American markets, December was rather mild in North America as well as in the U.K., which resulted in lower year-over-year salt sales for the 2018 fourth quarter," said Chairman and interim CEO Dick Grant.

The sales include all highway maintenance products sold in the U.S., Canada and the U.K., as well as rock salt sold to the chemical industry.

Sales of all salt products were also down at 3.5 million tonnes in the quarter, compared to 3.6 million tonnes in the last quarter of 2017, the company said Jan. 8.

The company expects negative impacts of between US$16 million and US$18 million on its sales and between US$6 million and US$8 million on its operating earnings in the fourth quarter, due to the variances from average winter weather and a mild winter weather in the U.K.

Compass Minerals' noted that salt production rates at its Goderich salt mine in Ontario improved in the fourth quarter, compared to the third quarter. The company continues to work with external experts to fine-tune the use of continuous mining and haulage at the mine, and is evaluating options for improved efficiency.

The company previously lowered its 2018 EPS guidance to between US$2.20 and US$2.50 from US$2.75 and US$3.25 per share, due to expected lower production rates at Goderich.