The company is one of the largest manufacturers and distributors of nitrogen and phosphate fertilizer products in North America. The company's operations are organized into two business segments: the nitrogen fertilizer business and the phosphate fertilizer business. The company's principal products in the nitrogen fertilizer business are ammonia, urea and urea ammonium nitrate solution (UAN). The company's principal products in the phosphate fertilizer business are diammonium phosphate (DAP) and monoammonium phosphate (MAP). The company supplies approximately 24% of the nitrogen and approximately 12% of the phosphate used in agricultural fertilizer applications in the United States. North America accounts for 91% of CF's sales
CF is a leader in US nitrogen. The company has one of the highest market shares in the US corn-belt (30% nitrogen, 17% phosphate) making CF the closest pure-play on potential growth in US corn acres tied to corn use for ethanol production. CF is the second largest nitrogen producer in North America with 3.6m tons of ammonia and 2.5m tons of urea capacity. CF is the #3 producer of phosphate fertilizer in North America based on 1m tons of phosphoric acid capacity in Florida. CF Industries is a leading US producer and distributor of nitrogen (75% of sales) and phosphate (25% of sales) fertilizers. The company has a 23% share of the total US nitrogen market and a 12% share of US phosphates.
Phosphate prices are strong due to low stocks, new demand for corn (from ethanol), that has created the largest corn crop since 1944 and significantly in creased acreage and fertilizer application rates. The phosphate market will remain tight next year based on healthy offshore demand growth in India and Brazil and higher application rates in the US. This is likely to lead to higher price and cash margins for various fertilizers. The Phosphate producers have better producer discipline and price leadership by Mosaic under a new team, no new mines until 2011 and offshore demand growth in India, Brazil and Australia.
Natural gas is the principal raw material, as well as the primary fuel source, used in the ammonia production process. Natural gas purchases accounted for approximately 54% of the total cost of sales for nitrogen fertilizers and a substantially higher percentage of cash production costs. The market price for natural gas in North America is significantly higher than the price of natural gas in other major fertilizer-producing regions. For example, during 2006, natural gas prices in the United States averaged approximately $6.74 per MMBtu and in Canada averaged approximately $5.76 per MMBtu. In comparison, during 2006, natural gas prices paid by fertilizer producers are estimated to have been approximately $1.25 per MMBtu in Russia and approximately $2.65 per MMBtu in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. A $1.00 per MMBtu change in the price of natural gas would change the cost to produce a ton of ammonia by approximately $33.
Customer concentration is high, as well. Three customers, Agriliance, GROWMARK, Inc., and ConAgra International Fertilizer Company made combined fertilizer purchases of approximately $944.0 million, representing approximately 48% of total net sales.