America's fastest growing companies ranked by stock growth and state.
CF Industries shipped a record 15 million tons of fertilizer in 2012 and generated $6.1 billion in revenue, buoyed by the low cost of natural gas, a key component in fertilizer production. CF owns and operates nitrogen and phosphate plants and recently obtained permits to expand production in Louisiana and Iowa, part of the company’s plan to boost nitrogen shipments by another 25% by 2016. In the first part of 2013, rising natural gas prices and the wet weather in the Midwest cut into CF’s profits (the company said farmers got a late start on planting in Iowa and had to skip treating soil with ammonia), but the company’s nitrogen business still set a revenue record in the second quarter. Of late, noted activist investor Dan Loeb has begun pushing for a bigger dividend. --C.G.