European weather a boon to salt provider K+S

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Shares in German group K+S, the world's leading salt supplier, soared Tuesday after it reported record orders amid unexpectedly harsh European weather conditions.

K+S shares showed a gain of 5.26 percent to 56.84 euros in afternoon trade on the Frankfurt stock exchange, where the DAX index of German blue-chips was 0.71 percent higher.

In the past week, the shares have gained more than five percent in value, the best performance of any DAX-listed company over that period.

"Demand for road salt is three times greater this month than it was at this time last year (and) ... five to six times greater than a normal December," a K+S spokesman told AFP.

The winter of 2009-2010 was already colder than normal and many parts of Europe that usually get lots of rain were covered with snow.

The spokesman said this month was "historic" in terms of the group's road salt sales but did not provide detailed figures.

It was nonetheless "very premature" to give a 2010 group forecast because road salt sales represented just 15 percent of total sales in the first nine months of the year, he said.

K+S became the world's leading salt distributor with the purchase of the US company Morton Salt in 2009. The German group is more active in the fertilizer sector, which account for some 70 percent of its total sales.

© 2010 AFP

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