August 10, 2018 / 8:31 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-K+S shares drop 11 pct after outlook cut

* K+S expects EBITDA of between 660-740 mln EUR

* Analyst consensus forecast was for 797 mln EUR

* Shares drop 11 pct, biggest faller on Stoxx 600 (Adds shares, analyst, details)

BERLIN, Aug 10 (Reuters) - Shares in K+S, one of the world’s biggest potash miners, tumbled 11 percent on Friday after the company said full-year earnings would fall short of analyst expectations.

They were the worst performer on Europe’s benchmark Stoxx 600 index.

K+S said late on Thursday that it now expects earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) for the year ending Dec. 31 to be between 660 million and 740 million euros ($854 million).

“This range misses the current market expectations,” the company said in a brief statement after the market close on Thursday, adding it would still significantly beat last year’s EBITDA of 577 million euros.

Analysts had forecast a full-year EBITDA of 797 million euros, K+S said, citing a consensus forecast published by Vara Research. The German company did not say why earnings would miss the forecast.

However, K+S warned in June that a stoppage at its new Bethune mine in Canada would weigh on its second-quarter earnings and noted some quality issues with the potash during the ramp-up of production.

“The newly opened Bethune mine in Canada seems not to have ramped up as quickly as the market had expected due to the ongoing product quality issues,” JP Morgan analysts said in a note.

The company has also faced problems at its Werra site in Germany where waste water issues have led to production stoppages in recent years.

K+S had previously projected a “significant increase” in EBITDA this year but never gave a specific target.

The company is included in the MDAX index of Germany’s 50 biggest companies below the blue-chip DAX index.

Shares in K+S were trading down 10.1 percent at 20.33 euros by 0734 GMT, having dropped as much as 11 percent at the open.

Separately, K+S said EBITDA rose to 105.1 million euros in the second quarter from 101.9 million a year ago, adding it continues to target positive cash flow in 2019.

Canadian rival Nutrien Ltd this month reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit, driven by higher prices for potash and nitrogen fertilizers and raised its forecast for potash sales volumes.

K+S is due to report detailed second-quarter results on Tuesday. ($1 = 0.8669 euros) (Reporting by Andreas Cremer and Caroline Copley Editing by Susan Fenton)

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