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Tuesday 30 September, 2008

SQM

SQM Reaffirms Market Outlook





SANTIAGO, Chile, September 30 /PRNewswire/ --

    Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile S.A. (SQM) (NYSE: SQM; Santiago Stock
Exchange: SQM-B, SQM-A), in light of the high volatility experienced by world
stock markets and in SQM share price, reiterated its statements from its
second quarter 2008 earnings release regarding its expectations that results
for the second half of this year will be significantly higher than both the
results for the first half of this year and the results for the second half
of 2007.


    Patricio Contesse, Chief Executive Officer of SQM, stated, "Based on the
sales we have accomplished so far, our current projections indicate that we
will achieve record results in the third quarter. Furthermore, we believe
this trend will continue into the fourth quarter and next year, considering
that market fundamentals are expected to be strong in the medium and long
terms." Mr. Contesse went on to say, "Our expectations for the specialty
plant nutrition, iodine and lithium markets have improved in the past 30
days, and in particular, sales volumes of iodine and lithium have exceeded
our initial projections."


    In July of 2008, SQM reported the details of its capital expenditure
plan, which includes approximately US$1 billion for the 2008-2010 period. The
primary objectives of the plan are:


    
    -- Increase production capacity of potassium-based products in the Salar
       de Atacama by approximately 250,000 tons per year;
    -- Increase production capacity of lithium carbonate to 40,000tons per
       year, already accomplished in this third quarter;
    -- Increase production capacity of nitrates by approximately 25%, by
       building a new potassium nitrate facility with a capacity of 300,000 
       tons per year by the second half of 2010;
    -- Increase production capacity of iodine by approximately 25% by 2012;
    -- Explore mining properties in order to search for potential metallic
       mineral resources; and
    -- Undertake a number of other investments aimed at improving
       productivity and infrastructure.


    With respect to the capex plan, Mr. Contesse remarked, "SQM is in a
unique position today, with excellent growth prospects observed across all of
its main markets. SQM's solid financial position will enable the Company to
face the growth it expects to see during the coming years."


    The Company is expecting a year-end 2008 ratio of net financial debt to
EBITDA(1) less than 0.5 times, and given the strong projected cash flows, SQM
should maintain solid financial indicators in the coming years.



    SQM is an integrated producer and distributor of specialty plant
nutrients, iodine and lithium. Its products are based on the development of
high quality natural resources that allow the Company to be a leader in
costs, supported by a specialized international network with sales in over
100 countries. SQM's development strategy aims to maintain and strengthen the
Company's world leadership in its three core businesses: Specialty Plant
Nutrition, Iodine and Lithium.



    For further information, please visit our Web site, www.sqm.com, or
contact:


    
    Patricio Vargas,  +56-2-4252274 / [email protected]
    Carolyn McKenzie, +56-2-4252074 / [email protected]


    Statements in this press release concerning the Company's business
outlook, future economic performances, anticipated profitability, revenues,
expenses, or other financial items, anticipated cost synergies and product or
service line growth, together with other statements that are not historical
facts, are "forward-looking statements" as that term is defined under Federal
Securities Laws.


    Any forward-looking statements are estimates, reflecting the best
judgment of SQM based on currently available information and involve a number
of risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results to
differ materially from those stated in such statements. Risks, uncertainties,
and factors that could affect the accuracy of such forward-looking statements
are identified in the public filing made with the Securities and Exchange
Commission, and forward-looking statements should be considered in light of
those factors.



    (1) Net financial debt = total financial debt less cash and cash
equivalents. EBITDA = operating income plus depreciation.



Web site: http://www.sqm.com

                                                                                                                                                    

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