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Tuesday 12 August, 2008

SQM

SQM Reports Earnings for the First Half of 2008





SANTIAGO, Chile, August 13 /PRNewswire/ --

    Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile S.A. (SQM) (NYSE: SQM; Santiago Stock
Exchange: SQM-B, SQM-A) reported today earnings for the first half of 2008 of
US$190.5 million (US$0.72 per ADR), an increase of 102.8% with respect to the
same period of 2007, when earnings totaled US$93.9 million (US$0.36 per ADR).
Operating income reached US$242.3 million (30.8% of revenues), 83.2% higher
than the US$132.3 million (23.7% of revenues) recorded during the first six
months of 2007. Revenues for the first half of 2008 totaled US$787.1 million,
representing growth of 40.9% over the US$558.8 million reported in the first
half of 2007.



    The Company also announced year-over-year earnings growth of 146.6% for
the second quarter of 2008, reporting quarterly net income of US$125.7
million (US$0.48 per ADR) compared to the 2007 figure of US$51.0 million
(US$0.19 per ADR). Operating income for the second quarter reached US$156.1
million, 112.5% higher than the US$73.5 million recorded for the same period
of 2007. Revenues totaled US$460.8 million, an increase of approximately
43.3% with respect to the second quarter of 2007, when revenues amounted to
US$321.6 million.



    Patricio Contesse, SQM's Chief Executive Officer, stated, "The earnings
growth we have reported for both the second quarter and the first half was
the result of worldwide increases in fertilizer prices, as well as solid
demand growth and sales volumes that were higher than we originally expected
in our iodine and lithium businesses." He went on to say, "Margins on our
specialty plant nutrients have risen considerably, as a result of favorable
pricing conditions together with our strategy of targeting markets that
deliver the highest returns. However, rising costs continue to have an
impact, mainly due to higher energy costs. On balance, we are optimistic
about the outlook for the second half of 2008, and our efforts are focused on
achieving third and fourth quarter results that surpass the second quarter
results we have just reported."



    For the complete version of this press release, please visit our Web
site: www.sqm.com.



    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 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, 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.



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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

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