Ouch! Fertilizer stocks tripped a little today after earnings releases from both CF Industries
Looking at the numbers
The bar for the agriculture sector was set high after Monsanto
Here's how rising prices actually affected the bottom lines:
CF Industries Results
Terra Nitrogen Results
|2011 Fourth Quarter Revenue||$1.7 billion||$201.0 million|
|2010 Fourth Quarter Revenue||$1.2 billion||$142.9 million|
|2011 Fourth Quarter Net Income||$438.9 million||$129.8 million|
|2010 Fourth Quarter Net Income||$200.3 million||$65.8 million|
|Quarterly Revenue Growth||41.7%||40.7%|
|Quarterly Net Income Growth||119.1%||97.3%|
|Quarterly Net Margin||25.8%||64.6%|
|2011 Full Year Revenue||$6.1 billion||$798.9 million|
|2010 Full Year Revenue||$4.0 billion||$564.6 million|
|2011 Full Year Net Income||$1.5 billion||$508.0 million|
|2010 Full Year Net Income||$349.2 million||$201.6 million|
|Annual Revenue Growth||52.5%||41.5%|
|Annual Net Income Growth||329.6%||152.0%|
|Annual Net Margin||24.6%||63.6%|
Sources: Company earnings reports.
Although both companies did report volume increases for the full year, neither needed it for the fourth quarter, which was driven entirely on higher prices. Upset farmers have had a broad effect on the fertilizer industry, reducing Potash Corp's
Trends to watch
Missing estimates isn't catastrophic when profits can remain strong. The only problems ahead are likely to come from unexpectedly steeper economic deterioration in the eurozone. Corn prices trended lower in August, but have been essentially flat since October. Farmers, expected to plant more corn than at any point since World War II, might have little choice but to pony up in order to keep their own profit streams flowing.
Terra was hit harder than CF today, and may continue to decline a bit more should it be unable to maintain its high dividend distribution, and could also be at greater risk should CF decide to sell off some of its majority stake while the stock is at a peak. CF is in a stronger position, but hardly offers the yield income-seekers want. Now might be the time to step back and evaluate a position in either company in a situation where historically high fertilizer prices finally drop.
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Fool contributor Alex Planes holds no financial position in any company mentioned here. Add him on Google+ or follow him on Twitter @TMFBiggles for more news and insights. The Motley Fool owns shares of CF Industries. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a synthetic long position in Monsanto. 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.