Although potash and other nutrient prices have not done well over the past few years due to flagging demand from China and India, the long-term future for many agricultural chemical companies remains sound. With more and more people from the emerging world eating meat and the world increasingly running out of farm land, agricultural chemicals will be in strong demand for decades to come.
Given their attractive valuations, their sound long-term prospects, and the potential for M&A, Insider Monkey has put together a list of the smart money’s favorite agricultural chemicals stocks. Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at their five favorites from the sector, which are Monsanto Company (NYSE:MON), CF Industries Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:CF), Syngenta AG (ADR) (NYSE:SYT), Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan (USA) (NYSE:POT), and Mosaic Co (NYSE:MOS).
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#5 Mosaic Co (NYSE:MOS)
– Number of Hedge Fund Shareholders (as of June 30): 19
– Total Value of Hedge Funds’ Holdings (as of June 30): $379.05 million
– Hedge Funds’ Holdings as Percent of Float (as of June 30): 4.10%
Although it isn’t part of any M&A talks at the moment, Mosaic Co (NYSE:MOS) will nevertheless benefit if Potash Corporation merges with Agrium Inc. (USA) (NYSE:AGU), as increased concentration typically gives producers more pricing power, which in turn generally leads to higher margins and increased cash flow. However, RBC stated at the end of August that the merger between those two was unlikely to solve the industry’s oversupply issues. Legg Mason Capital Management raised its stake in Mosaic by 73,277% during the second quarter, to 1.7 million shares as of June 30.
#4 Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan (USA) (NYSE:POT)
– Number of Hedge Fund Shareolders (as of June 30): 32
– Total Value of Hedge Funds’ Holdings (as of June 30): $946.9 million
– Hedge Funds’ Holdings as Percent of Float (as of June 30): 6.90%
As mentioned previously, Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan (USA) (NYSE:POT) has recently held advanced M&A talks with fellow producer Agrium Inc. (USA) (NYSE:AGU). Although talks could fall apart at any time, the Bloomberg article does say that Potash and Agrium are considering a merger of equals that could be announced as soon as this week. Together, the two companies would own slightly over 50% of North America’s potash producing capacity and would have more pricing power than they otherwise would. The increased pricing could go a long way to restoring Potash’s quarterly dividend. The smart money was more optimistic on Potash in the second quarter. Of the 749 hedge funds that we track which filed 13F’s for the June quarter, the number of them holding Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan (USA) (NYSE:POT) rose by nine quarter-over-quarter to 32 at the end of June.
Hedge funds’ three favorite stocks in the agricultural chemicals sector are detailed on the next page.