In the first nine months of the year, it reported a profit of 331 million dollars, an increase of 4.7% compared to the same period last year.
This was not the best quarter for SQM. Namely the non-metal mine company associated with Julio Ponce Leroy, reported lower sales of lithium due to the delay of one of its investments, which affected the company's results for the July-September period.
As reported by the company, lithium sales in the third quarter reached 9,300 tonnes, which is about 27% less than what was achieved during the same period last year. Thus, sales of lithium between July and September reached $ 152.8 million, 9% less than in 2017.
"In 2017 we announced a significant lithium expansion near Antofagasta, which will allow us to increase our capacity by almost 50%, which included a complete renovation of our existing plant for a short period of time and low investment.
We announced in advance that the start-up of the fully renovated plant was a bigger challenge than expected, which affects our ability to produce high-quality lithium in the third quarter that affects our sales, "said SQM General Manager Patricio of Solmichal.
The manager also said that "we are working hard to solve these problems as soon as possible," adding that the impact will be alleviated by the first quarter of 2019.
"The volume of sales in 2018 could be about 45,000 tons," said de Solminhah.
In any case, the company is optimistic given that they are still seeing a strong lithium market, predicting that demand will grow by more than 25% this year.
"Because of the above, lithium market prices remain strong, our average prices in the third quarter remain relatively stable compared with the second quarter, we believe our fourth quarter prices will remain similar to those for the third quarter," the manager commented.
Despite the figures for lithium business, the company reported a profit of 331 million dollars in the first nine months of the year, an increase of 4.7% over the same period last year. On the other hand, sales in the period reached $ 1700 million, an increase of 7.4%.