This new kid on the block has been very impressive with its performance. At a time when the entire chemical space is having a gala time (read earning a lot from high product prices), CVR Partners (NYSE: UAN ) made sure it falls in the same league.
The more than doubling of the fertilizer company's third-quarter net income looks good, and so do a lot of other things. Let's take a closer look.
Strong global market conditions for nitrogen products have been pushing up their prices lately. As a result, prices of the primary products CVR deals in -- ammonia and urea ammonium nitrate (UAN) -- have exploded.
With prices rising significantly, CVR's top line grew an astounding 66.4% from the year-ago quarter, to $77.2 million. Prices of nutrients UAN and ammonia increased by 75% and 79%, respectively.
Not surprisingly, solid top-line growth nicely pushed up CVR's net income from $13.5 million last year to $36.3 million.
What's CVR up to?
CVR has been converting a lot of ammonia produced to the highly valued UAN, and is also busy with its big UAN expansion project, which is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2013. Around $36.2 million of total targeted 2011 capital expenditures of $47.6 million will be spent on this expansion. With this project, CVR is targeting UAN capacity expansion of 400,000 tons per year.
This is a smart move, considering how UAN prices have been reaching for the skies.
Rising with prices
It's not just CVR that's raking in the moola. Peer Terra Nitrogen's (NYSE: TNH ) third-quarter sales were up an astounding 49.5% from last year, primarily because of higher prices of ammonia and UAN. Likewise, in spite of flat volumes, PotashCorp's (NYSE: POT ) nitrogen segment sales shot up by around 48% in its third quarter as prices of nitrogen products surged. Agrium's (NYSE: AGU ) second-quarter revenues had surged 40% from the year-ago period as nutrient prices, especially nitrogen, rose.
Undoubtedly, CVR is on the right track with its expansionary move.
The unique advantage
CVR is located in the U.S. Corn Belt, which increases proximity to Union Pacific's main line. Because of this, CVR enjoys a transportation cost advantage of approximately $25 per ton over competitors located in the U.S. Gulf Coast.
Note the interesting connection here. Corn requires a lot of nutrients, and it touched its highest price levels this year. This naturally encourages farmers to grow more corn, which means higher demand for CVR's products. CVR has a double advantage here, as it also saves a lot on transportation costs to the Corn Belt because of proximity.
The Foolish bottom line
The booming agriculture sector will continue to churn money for CVR. As long as population and spending power grow, especially in emerging markets, the fertilizer industry will be busy. We should take note that biggies like CF Industries (NYSE: CF ) are highly optimistic.
CVR has been on a high since it was spun off from CVR Energy some months back, and there's no stopping this company anytime soon. Dividend-wise, the company yields an unbelievable 8.8%. Keep watching closely, Fools.
If you want to stay updated on how CVR's expansion plans shape up, make sure you add it to your stock watchlist, My Watchlist. It's a free, personalized stock-tracking service from Motley Fool to keep you updated on all your favorite companies.