Mosaic to idle Louisiana phosphates operations to cut 2019 output

Adds details on output cut, background on results

Sept 9 (Reuters) - U.S. fertilizer company Mosaic Co MOS.N said on Monday it would idle its Louisiana phosphates operations to cut production by about 500,000 tonnes in 2019 as more imports into the country have pushed down prices.

Prices of the crucial fertilizer ingredient have been have been under pressure since late 2018 as demand remains weak and capacity expansions in Morocco and Saudi Arabia have increased output and exports.

Mosaic also said it would temporarily curtail potash production at Colonsay mine in Saskatchewan. In June, it had permanently closed its Plant City phosphates facility in Florida, as it looks to cut costs amid weak global phosphate market conditions.

The output curtailment, effective Oct.1, will reduce high phosphate fertilizer inventories, Mosaic said.

The company said it continues to expect strong fall fertilizer application in North America, and a "more balanced global supply-and-demand picture to emerge by 2020".

Mosaic also said its Brazilian unit, Mosaic Fertilizantes, would cut another $200 million of costs by 2022, adding that the unit had already taken steps to cut at least $275 million of costs in 2019.

The Plymouth, Minnesota-headquartered company was forced to cut its full-year earnings forecast last month as rains and flooding in the United States hit volumes and phosphates margins.

Mosaic also said on Monday that it plans to start buying back $250 million of shares.

(Reporting by Arathy S Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel and Shailesh Kuber)

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