Overland Park-based Compass Minerals to cut 150 jobs

Compass Minerals is eliminating 150 jobs in response to sharply lower profits and sales caused largely by mild winter weather and weakness in agricultural markets.

The Overland Park-based company, which is a major supplier of highway salt deicing and plant nutritional products, announced the cuts as part of a “thorough review” of its operations. It said the cuts, which will occur throughout the year, will result in a restructuring charge of about $4 million in the first quarter.

Compass has about 2,000 employees, including about 190 at its headquarters in the Corporate Woods office park.

Most of the positions being eliminated are at the company’s Canadian rock salt mine in Goderich, Ontario. Compass had previously said it was investing in more efficient mining equipment at that site, which has about 475 employees.

Other jobs will be eliminated at a mine in the United Kingdom, with the remainder spread throughout the company, said Tara Hart, a Compass spokeswoman.

Compass announced the moves in its quarterly financial results, which were released Monday.

Fran Malecha, the company’s president and chief executive, said 2016 will be challenging, and added that the company is “taking the necessary steps to align production with current demand and create a leaner organization for long-term success.”

In the fourth quarter that ended Dec. 31, Compass reported fourth-quarter profits of $58.4 million, compared with an $80.5 million quarterly profit in 2014.

Fourth-quarter revenue declined 33 percent to $289.3 million.

For all of 2015, Compass earned $159.2 million, down from $217.9 million in 2014. The 2014 results included an after-tax benefit of $60.6 million. Without that special item, net income amounted to $162.4 million in 2014.

For the full year, Compass revenue was $1.1 billion, down 14 percent from 2014.

Despite the weaker results, Compass announced a 5 percent increase in its quarterly dividend for 2016.

Steve Rosen: 816-234-4879