A somewhat mild winter resulted in lower sales for Compass Minerals, an Overland Park, Kansas based company that provides essential deicing salt.
The company announced its first quarter 2020 winter weather activity in North America and the United Kingdom was below average.
Eleven representative cities in the company’s primary North American highway deicing service area reported 85 snow events during the first quarter of 2020 compared to 122 snow events in the first quarter of 2019 and the 10-year average of 111.5 events.
While these snow event results represent a decline of 30% from first-quarter 2019 levels and winter weather was extremely mild in the U.K., the company’s highway deicing sales volumes declined only 11% compared to prior-year results.
The company sold approximately 3.1 million tons of highway deicing salt products in the first quarter of 2020 compared to 3.5 million tons in the first quarter of 2019. This total includes 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 totaled 3.6 million tons in the first quarter of 2020, compared to 4.1 million tons in the prior-year period.
Despite these results and other business challenges related to the spread of and global response to COVID-19, the company expects to deliver strong first-quarter earnings growth across all three segments with first-quarter 2020 consolidated operating earnings increasing more than 25% from prior-year results. These improvements are driven by strong pricing in the Salt business, as well as improved agriculture market conditions in both North and South America.