When India went into strict lockdowns during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, almost all sectors of our economy suffered. It was only the agricultural sector that continued to show strong positive growth (~3.4%) during the financial year 2020-21 (FY21). Despite supply chain disruptions, our country’s farming sector has worked extensively to cater to the rising consumption demands of citizens. We also saw fertilizer companies ramping up production and supplying farmers with essential agricultural inputs during this period. As a result, certain fertilizer manufacturers have thrived over the past year.

Let us take a closer look at some of the prominent companies that fall under the fertilizer and agrochemicals industry in India. 

UPL

UPL Limited (formerly known as United Phosphorus Ltd) manufactures and markets crop solutions in India and across the globe. It operates through two segments: Agro Activity and Non-agro Activity. The company primarily offers herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, and pesticides. It also provides seed treatment products, adjuvants, and solutions for crop protection. UPL distributes certified seeds for corn, millet, oats, rice, wheat, soya, and much more. In addition, the company offers a wide range of plant stimulation solutions, post-harvest products, aquatic treatment solutions, and farmer advisory and education services. UPL is also known for manufacturing and marketing essential industrial chemicals. 

Financial Performance & Expansion Plans

The Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdowns imposed across India do not seem to have caused any major effect on UPL’s financial performance. The company’s net profit was up 34% quarter-on-quarter (QoQ) or 72% YoY to Rs 1063 crore for the quarter ended March (Q4 FY21). Its revenues had increased by an impressive 40% QoQ to Rs 12,706 crore during the same period. UPL reported a 61% YoY increase in net profit to Rs 2,871 crore for the financial year ended March 31, 2021 (FY21). It has focused extensively on innovation and transformation and has adapted well to the challenging times. 

UPL has posted consistent increases in revenues and profits over the last five years. From FY17 to FY21, revenue has grown at a yearly rate of 24.18%, whereas the industry average stood at 7.45%. As of May 2021, UPL has secured a market share of 26.64% in the fertilizers and agrochemicals industry.

In a recent statement, UPL said it will continue to focus on driving sustainable agriculture and transformational growth using new technologies. The company has laid out strategies to tap new growth markets and opportunities in the agricultural solutions space.

The shares of UPL have surged by ~110% within a year (since May 2020). 

Chambal Fertilisers and Chemicals

Chambal Fertilisers and Chemicals Ltd (CFCL) manufactures and sells fertilizers in India and internationally. The company offers agricultural inputs such as urea, di-ammonium phosphate, and muriate of potash. It manufactures pesticides, insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, NPK (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium) fertilizers, agrochemicals, and micro-nutrients, primarily under the ‘Uttam’ brand. Interestingly, CFCL is also involved in designing, developing, marketing, and distribution of software products for the mortgage lending industry. 

Financial Performance & Expansion Plans

CFCL posted a consolidated net profit of Rs 541.75 crore for the quarter ended March (Q4 FY21). It had posted a net profit of Rs 201.06 crore in the corresponding quarter last year. However, total revenue from operations declined by 16.67% YoY to Rs 1,640.76 crore. Net profit was up 42.6% YoY to Rs 1,747.59 crore for the financial year ended March 31, 2021 (FY21).

Since FY17, the company’s revenue has grown at a CAGR of 4.92%, whereas the industry average stood at 7.45%. It has secured a market share of 9.29%.

Despite strict lockdowns amidst the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, Chambal Fertilizers has been able to operate plants at normal levels. Its production, distribution, and market collections have remained unaffected. In fact, CFCL is in a position to repay its debts and other financial obligations for the next year. The company aims to become a pan-India player by expanding to high potential states. For this, CFCL has identified a strong marketing network comprising around 1,000 dealers and 7,000 dealers.

CFCL’s share price has risen by ~106% since May 2020

National Fertilizers Ltd

National Fertilizers Limited manufactures and sells urea products and industrial chemical products in India. It also offers bio-fertilizers, including rhizobium, phosphate, and zinc that are used to supplement chemical fertilizers and maintain soil fertility. The company distributes certified seeds under the ‘Kisan Beej’ brand name. National Fertilizers also trades in compost products, agrochemicals/pesticides (comprising insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides), as well as potassium chloride, di-ammonium phosphate, and nitro phosphate. This has enabled the company to emerge as a one-stop fertilizer supplier for its customers.

Financial Performance

The company is yet to post its Q4 results. Looking at past performance, National Fertilizers has posted a consistent increase in revenues. It has secured a healthy market share in the urea segment across northern India. Over the last 5 years, the revenue of National Fertilizers has grown at a yearly rate of 9.04%, whereas the industry average stood at 7.45%. It has secured a market share of 9.8% (as of May 2021).

NFL’s share price has surged by ~185% within a year (since May 2020).

Coromandel International

Coromandel International Ltd manufactures and sells farm inputs in India. The company operates through two segments: Nutrient and Other Allied Business and Crop Protection. It offers fertilizers, bio pesticide solutions, crop protection products, and plant bio-stimulants. It supplies specialty nutrients, including bentonite sulphur, water-soluble and organic fertilizers, and micro-nutrients. The company also provides farming services, such as crop advisory, soil testing, and farm mechanization. In addition, it operates 750 rural retail outlets across Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, and Maharashtra. Coromandel International is a subsidiary of E.I.D. Parry (India) Limited.

Financial Performance

The company posted a 33.5% YoY (or 53% QoQ) decline in consolidated net profit to Rs 155.85 crore for the quarter ended March (Q4 FY21). Its net sales declined by 05% YoY to Rs 2,855.97 crore during the January-March period. Coromandel International posted a 25% YoY increase in net profit to Rs 1,329.15 crore for FY21. 

Over the last five years, revenue has grown at a CAGR of 3.01%, whereas the industry average stood at 7.45%. Coromandel International has obtained a market share of 9.79% so far.

Coromandel International said it has delivered an all-round performance in Q4 by adopting digital marketing to reach out to the farming community. In the upcoming quarters, the company will focus on improving operational efficiency and introduce new products to support farmers in improving crop productivity.

Rallis India

Rallis India Limited manufactures and markets agricultural inputs in India. The company offers crop protection products, including insecticides, fungicides, and herbicides. It also offers seed treatment chemicals and soil conditioners. Rallis distributes seeds, including those for hybrid rice, maize, sunflower, cotton, paddy, mustard, wheat, etc. The company offers contract manufacturing services for crop protection, specialty chemicals, and polymers.  It also manufactures household products such as ‘Termex’ and ‘Hippo’, which are used for termite control. The company exports most of its products to approximately 70 countries across Europe, Asia, the Middle East, the Americas, and Africa. Rallis India is a subsidiary of Tata Chemicals Limited.

Financial Performance

Rallis India posted a consolidated net profit of Rs 8.12 crore for the quarter ended March (Q4 FY21). This is compared to a net profit of Rs 68 lakh in the corresponding quarter last year. Its revenue from operations rose 32% YoY to Rs 471.26 crore. Net profit for the financial year 2020-21 grew 24% YoY to Rs 228.58 crore. The company said it is positioning itself to meet the growing requirements of the agricultural sector.

Over the last five years, revenue has grown at a CAGR of 4.79%, where the industry average stood at 7.45%. As of May 2021, Rallis India has only been able to secure a market share of 1.71%.

Rallis India’s shares have risen by ~50% since May 2020.

Conclusion

The fertilizer and agrochemicals industry in India is highly competitive and consists of a large number of players. We have only mentioned a few of them in this article. Other important companies in this industry include Rashtriya Chemicals & Fertilizers, Deepak Fertilisers & Petrochemicals Corp, Fertilisers and Chemicals Travancore (FACT), Bayer CropScience, Gujarat State Fertilizers & Chemicals (GSFC), etc. 

Last week, the stocks of major fertilizer companies saw a rally after the Centre increased the subsidy of di-ammonium phosphate (a fertilizer) by 140% from Rs 500 to Rs 1,200 per bag. This is mainly due to a surge in prices of phosphoric acid, ammonia (used to make fertilizers) in the international markets. This move would definitely benefit our farmers. However, it may cause a subsidy burden on the companies mentioned above. 

According to a recent report from Mordor Intelligence (a consulting firm), the Indian fertilizer market is expected to register a CAGR of 11.9% over the next five years. Through technological innovations, the industry will continue to provide enhanced food security to our country. And through this, the stocks will continue to grow as well.

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