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PHI challenged by 'operational issues'

MADISON — Phosphate Holdings Inc. (PHI), for the fourth quarter, recorded a net loss of $2.8 million, or $0.36 per share, compared to a loss of $58.1 million, or $7.59 per share, during the same period the prior year.

For the year, PHI reports a net loss of $13.6 million, or $1.76 per share, compared to a net loss of $3.5 million, or $0.46 per share, the previous year. The company said its year-to-date results were materially impacted by inventory write-downs to net realizable value of approximately $10.4 million.

Net sales for the fourth quarter were $47.2 million, compared to $35.8 million during the same period last year. For the year, net sales were $186.3 million, a 58 percent decrease from the prior year.

The fertilizer-maker says it has been plagued by operational issues during the fourth quarter of last year and into the first quarter of 2010. Production shortfalls are being blamed on unplanned outages in its sulfuric acid operations.

Various factors, including extreme cold temperatures and heavy rains, negatively impacted operations during the first quarter of 2010. In addition, subsequent to the turnaround of PHI’s No. 2 sulfuric acid plant, problems with the coolers in the inter-stage absorption towers have developed, and the company is working to replace the coolers.

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