Achieving milestones on multiple fronts and extending our leadership.
Mosaic’s success in fiscal 2012 demonstrates the commitment of our 8,000 employees around the world. While the economy and financial markets remained volatile, we made significant progress toward achieving our vision of Mosaic becoming the best crop nutrition company in the world.
Mosaic’s progress in fiscal 2012 was bolstered by an increasingly strong financial foundation. We generated net sales of $11.1 billion, compared with $9.9 billion in 2011. Net earnings for the year were $1.9 billion, compared with $2.5 billion in the previous year. In fiscal 2011, net earnings included $70 million from the sale of Fosfertil. While volatile markets can impact our business for short periods of time, our financial might provides resilience and flexibility. In the midst of our major investments to grow for the long term, we were able to return significant capital to shareholders. The company repurchased 21.3 million shares and increased its dividend by 150 percent during fiscal 2012. Since the end of the fiscal year, Mosaic has announced an additional dividend increase of $.50 per share, making a 400-percent total change since the beginning of calendar 2012. After these investments and shareholder distributions, our cash position remains a source of strength, with $3.8 billion as we start fiscal 2013.
Our successes were recognized externally. For the first time, Mosaic was included in the Ethisphere Institute’s list of the world’s most ethical companies; we were the only crop nutrition company on the list. Ethisphere honors companies that promote ethical business standards and practices internally, exceed legal compliance minimums and shape future industry standards. In addition, for the third year in a row Mosaic was named to Corporate Responsibility Magazine’s list of the 100 Best Corporate Citizens. Mosaic was ranked 28th — up from 67th in 2011 — in recognition of its conservation and environmental stewardship efforts, as well as its financial and governance transparency.
We manage Mosaic for the long term. Quarterly and even annual results can suffer or benefit from the whims of the economy, the grain and oilseeds markets, transportation costs, weather and many other influences. In order to fulfill Mosaic’s critically important mission of helping the world grow the food it needs, the company must have the ability to navigate both turbulent and calm waters. I am certain that we have the management experience and strength, and the commitment to operating with excellence, to do just that.