Fertilizer to Grow Your Portfolio


In uncertain economic times, a golden rule for investors is to steer clear of companies that produce seasonal goods and invest in the ones that manufacture essential goods such as medicine and food or goods that support the production of essential goods.

CVR Partners (NYS: UAN) is one such company. It manufactures urea ammonium nitrate and ammonium fertilizers, which are a must for many industrial and agricultural producers. The demand for its products is increasing as demand for farming outputs increases. This robust demand, favorable third-quarter results, and many other recent events are reasons enough to get excited about CVR Partners.

A little background
CVR produces about 2,000 tons of urea ammonium nitrate and about 1,200 tons of ammonia per day, which makes it one of the leading producers of fertilizers in the U.S.

The company also owns Coffeyville Resources Nitrogen Fertilizers, which has a manufacturing plant in North America that uses petroleum coke to manufacture nitrogen fertilizers instead of natural gas. The company is a subsidiary of CVR Energy (NYS: CVI) .

CVR Partners reported net income of $36.3 million in the third quarter compared to $13.5 million in the same period last year. Sales jumped from $46.6 million a year ago to $77.2 million in Q3 2011. The jump in profit is attributed to the strong demand for its products, which is expected to grow stronger in the coming months.

Despite the increase in prices of raw materials such as ammonia and urea ammonium nitrate, the company managed to increase its revenue as production remained high for the quarter, and the strong demand for fertilizers boosted its sales figures.

Expected increase in demand and production
Our world is now home to more than 7 billion people, and feeding them all is a major challenge for food producers. Consequently, there would be an obvious increase in demand for products manufactured by CVR Partners and other fertilizer players such as PotashCorp (NYS: POT) and Agrium (NYS: AGU) in the years to come. And it seems that CVR is geared up to meet the demand, as it plans to expand its business aggressively for the next few quarters.

CVR has decided to increase the yearly production of urea ammonium nitrate to 1,075,000 tons from 675,000 tons by the first quarter of 2013. However, the company faces intense competition from CF Industries (NYS: CF) , which also owns about 70 percent of Terra Nitrogen. CF Industries is a leading producer of not only nitrogen fertilizers, but also phosphate fertilizers. Terra Nitrogen supplies its nitrogen fertilizers to industrial as well as agricultural producers.

High dividend payment
CVR Partners went public just this past year, and it had set a goal to pay an annual dividend of $1.92 for the 12 months ending March 31, 2012, which gives a yield of more than 7.5% to its shareholders. The goal very much remains on track, as it declared cash distribution of $0.572 per common unit for Q3 2011. The management also discussed its plan to increase the production of fertilizers, which is likely to increase the dividend yield further.

The Fool's bottom line
The performance of the fertilizer industry makes me optimistic about this stock. There is a ready market for CVR's products, and its plan to increase output by about 50% will only mean further increase in revenue. Although fertilizer prices can be a little volatile these days, growing food demand makes it attractive for the long run. Besides, a strong performance in such volatile times only means stronger results in improved market conditions.

To follow how well CVR Partners cultivates its revenues, add it to your watchlist. It's free!

At the time thisarticle was published Vibhuti Shah does not own any shares of any of the companies mentioned in the article. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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