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Early last week, shares of CVR Partners (NYSE: UAN ) slumped to their lowest price this year, despite a bumper fourth quarter. But I do not see any reasons to worry. The company has a significant dividend yield and continues to enjoy key advantages over peers.
Why fret when all's fine?
Investors might have misunderstood CVR's dividend distribution guidance. It projected $1.50 to $1.75 per share for "calendar year 2012." Note the lower end of the range is below the $1.57 per share it has paid in the last three quarters. But if this worried you, relax.
It's not that the company's profits are set to slump. CVR is only setting aside $0.25 for its biannual plant turnaround expenses, hence the lower dividend guidance. What's wrong with that? I would rather focus on the fundamentals.
Strong numbers and moves
Backed by soaring prices of nutrients such as urea ammonium nitrate and ammonia, CVR's top line more than doubled to $87.6 million from the comparable period last year. As a result, its net income swung remarkably from a loss of $6.2 million last year to a profit of $41.2 million. With UAN making up nearly 86% of the volume of total fertilizer sold, CVR's shift toward UAN looks like a smart move.
UAN is proving to be a highly profitable nutrient, with its latest five-year average price being 88% higher than the previous five-year period. CVR is betting big on UAN, too, having dedicated three-fourths of its estimated 2012 capital expenditures toward expanding its capacity to produce the nutrient. The program will increase UAN production capacity by almost 50% annually and is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2013.
That's not all. CVR is also converting larger quantities of ammonia to UAN. It upgraded nearly 72% of its ammonia production last year into UAN. This strategy has caught the eye of fertilizer giant CF Industries (NYSE: CF ) , which has also started upgrading a greater chunk of ammonia to UAN.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture projected record-high corn plantations this year. UAN is an important nitrogen-based fertilizer, and nitrogen itself is the most important nutrient for corn production. More planting means more demand for the nutrient. So I won't be surprised if CVR's revenue heads further north.
One might argue that an industry trend will benefit other fertilizer players as well. True, but here again CVR might be better off because of three key advantages it enjoys.
First, CVR is strategically located in the U.S. Corn Belt close to its customers -- the farmers. Second, the company is located close to railroad company Union Pacific's main line, which provides access to cheaper transportation for outgoing goods. And last, CVR is shielded from natural gas price swings, as it uses petroleum coke gasification rather than raw natural gas for its production process. Moreover, nearly 70% of the pet coke requirement comes from CVR Energy's (NYSE: CVI ) adjacent refinery. That CVR Energy is the controlling partner and owner of CVR Partners adds to the safety net.
The Foolish bottom line
Great performance, solid growth moves, and superb dividends -- that sums up CVR Partners. Of course, there's some uncertainty surrounding billionaire investor Carl Icahn's recent offer to buy CVR Energy. But I don't think investors of CVR Partners should worry much.
Keep following me to find out more about where CVR Partners stands in all this Icahn drama and how it charts its path to growth. You can do so by adding it to your stock watchlist, our free, personalized stock-tracking service.
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