10-K 1 cf-12312017x10k.htm 10-K Document

 
UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, DC 20549
FORM 10-K
(Mark One)
 
ý
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE
SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2017
OR
o
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE
SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
Commission file number 001-32597
CF INDUSTRIES HOLDINGS, INC.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
Delaware
 
20-2697511
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)
 
(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)
 
 
 
4 Parkway North, Suite 400, Deerfield, Illinois
 
60015
(Address of principal executive offices)
 
(Zip Code)
Registrant's telephone number, including area code (847) 405-2400
Securities registered pursuant to section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each class 
 
Name of each exchange on which registered 
Common Stock, $0.01 par value per share


 
New York Stock Exchange
Securities Registered Pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes ý No o
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. Yes o No ý
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes ý No o
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files). Yes ý No o
Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K (§229.405 of this chapter) is not contained herein and will not be contained, to the best of registrant's knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K. o
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or a smaller reporting company. See the definitions of "large accelerated filer," "accelerated filer" "smaller reporting company," and "emerging growth company" in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large accelerated filer ý
 
Accelerated filer o
 
Non-accelerated filer o
 (Do not check if a smaller reporting company)
 
Smaller reporting company o
 
Emerging growth company o
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act). Yes o No ý
The aggregate market value of the registrant's common stock held by non-affiliates was $6,493,898,814 based on the closing sale price of common stock on June 30, 2017.
233,292,049 shares of the registrant's common stock, $0.01 par value per share, were outstanding as of January 31, 2018.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Portions of the registrant's definitive proxy statement for its 2018 annual meeting of stockholders (Proxy Statement) are incorporated herein by reference into Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. The Proxy Statement will be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, pursuant to Regulation 14A, not later than 120 days after the end of the 2017 fiscal year, or, if we do not file the Proxy Statement within such 120-day period, we will amend this Annual Report on Form 10-K to include the information required under Part III hereof not later than the end of such 120-day period.
 



CF INDUSTRIES HOLDINGS, INC.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 




CF INDUSTRIES HOLDINGS, INC.




PART I
ITEM 1.    BUSINESS.
Our Company
        All references to "CF Holdings," "we," "us," "our" and "the Company," refer to CF Industries Holdings, Inc. and its subsidiaries, except where the context makes clear that the reference is only to CF Industries Holdings, Inc. itself and not its subsidiaries. All references to "CF Industries" refer to CF Industries, Inc., a 100% owned subsidiary of CF Industries Holdings, Inc. Notes referenced throughout this document refer to consolidated financial statement note disclosures that are found in Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary DataNotes to Consolidated Financial Statements.
We are one of the largest manufacturers and distributors of nitrogen fertilizer products and other nitrogen products in the world. Our principal customers are cooperatives, independent fertilizer distributors, farmers and industrial users. Our principal nitrogen fertilizer products are ammonia, granular urea, urea ammonium nitrate solution (UAN) and ammonium nitrate (AN). Our other nitrogen products include diesel exhaust fluid (DEF), urea liquor, nitric acid and aqua ammonia, which are sold primarily to our industrial customers, and compound fertilizer products (NPKs), which are solid granular fertilizer products for which the nutrient content is a combination of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. We operate world-class nitrogen manufacturing complexes in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, and distribute plant nutrients through a system of terminals, warehouses, and associated transportation equipment located primarily in the Midwestern United States. We also export nitrogen fertilizer products from our Donaldsonville, Louisiana and Yazoo City, Mississippi manufacturing facilities, and our United Kingdom manufacturing facilities in Billingham and Ince.
Our principal assets include:
four U.S. nitrogen fertilizer manufacturing facilities, located in Donaldsonville, Louisiana (the largest nitrogen fertilizer complex in the world); Port Neal, Iowa; Yazoo City, Mississippi; and Woodward, Oklahoma. These facilities are owned by CF Industries Nitrogen, LLC (CFN), of which we own approximately 89% and CHS Inc. (CHS) owns the remainder. See Note 16—Noncontrolling Interests for additional information on our strategic venture with CHS;
an approximately 75.3% interest in Terra Nitrogen Company, L.P. (TNCLP), a publicly traded limited partnership of which we are the sole general partner and the majority limited partner and which, through its subsidiary Terra Nitrogen, Limited Partnership (TNLP), operates a nitrogen fertilizer manufacturing facility in Verdigris, Oklahoma;
two Canadian nitrogen fertilizer manufacturing facilities, located in Medicine Hat, Alberta (the largest nitrogen fertilizer complex in Canada) and Courtright, Ontario;
two United Kingdom nitrogen manufacturing complexes, located in Ince and Billingham;
an extensive system of terminals and associated transportation equipment located primarily in the Midwestern United States; and
a 50% interest in Point Lisas Nitrogen Limited (PLNL), an ammonia production joint venture located in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago that we account for under the equity method.
On February 7, 2018, we announced that Terra Nitrogen GP Inc. (TNGP), the sole general partner of TNCLP and an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of CF Holdings, elected to exercise its right to purchase all of the 4,612,562 publicly traded common units of TNCLP on April 2, 2018, for a cash purchase price of $84.033 per unit in accordance with the terms of TNCLP’s partnership agreement. The purchase price of $84.033 per unit was determined under the terms of TNCLP’s partnership agreement as the average of the daily closing prices per common unit for the 20 consecutive trading days beginning with January 5, 2018 and ending with February 2, 2018. The purchase price of all of the 4,612,562 publicly traded common units of TNCLP is approximately $390 million. We intend to fund the purchase with cash on hand. As of the April 2, 2018 purchase date, all rights of the holders of the units will terminate, with the exception of the right to receive payment of the purchase price. Upon completion of the purchase, we will own 100 percent of the general and limited partnership interests of TNCLP, and the common units representing limited partner interests will cease to be publicly traded or listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
In 2016, we completed our capacity expansion projects at Donaldsonville, Louisiana and Port Neal, Iowa. These projects, originally announced in 2012, included the construction of new ammonia, urea, and UAN plants at our Donaldsonville,

1

CF INDUSTRIES HOLDINGS, INC.




Louisiana complex and new ammonia and urea plants at our Port Neal, Iowa complex. These plants increased our overall production capacity by approximately 25%, improved our product mix flexibility at Donaldsonville, and improved our ability to serve upper-Midwest urea customers from our Port Neal location. These new facilities allow us to benefit from the cost advantages of North American natural gas. At our Donaldsonville complex, the ammonia plant was placed in service in October 2016, the UAN plant was placed in service in the first quarter of 2016 and the granular urea plant was placed in service in the fourth quarter of 2015. At our Port Neal, Iowa complex, both the ammonia and granular urea plants were placed in service in the fourth quarter of 2016. The total capital cost of the capacity expansion projects was $5.2 billion.
We commenced a strategic venture with CHS on February 1, 2016, at which time CHS purchased a minority equity interest in CFN for $2.8 billion, which represented approximately 11% of the membership interest of CFN. We own the remaining membership interest. On February 1, 2016, CHS also began receiving deliveries pursuant to a supply agreement under which CHS has the right to purchase annually from CFN up to approximately 1.1 million tons of granular urea and 580,000 tons of UAN at market prices. As a result of its minority equity interest in CFN, CHS is entitled to semi-annual cash distributions from CFN. We are also entitled to semi-annual cash distributions from CFN. See Note 16—Noncontrolling Interests for additional information on our strategic venture with CHS.
On July 31, 2015, we acquired the remaining 50% equity interest in CF Fertilisers UK Group Limited (formerly known as GrowHow UK Group Limited) (CF Fertilisers UK) not previously owned by us for total consideration of $570 million, and CF Fertilisers UK became wholly owned by us. This transaction added CF Fertilisers UK’s nitrogen manufacturing complexes in Ince, United Kingdom and Billingham, United Kingdom to our consolidated manufacturing capacity. 
For the years ended December 31, 2017, 2016 and 2015, we sold 20.0 million, 17.0 million and 13.7 million product tons generating net sales of $4.13 billion, $3.69 billion and $4.31 billion, respectively.
Our principal executive offices are located outside of Chicago, Illinois, at 4 Parkway North, Suite 400, Deerfield, Illinois 60015, and our telephone number is 847-405-2400. Our Internet website address is www.cfindustries.com. Information made available on our website does not constitute part of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
We make available free of charge on or through our Internet website, www.cfindustries.com, all of our reports on Forms 10-K, 10-Q and 8-K and all amendments to those reports as soon as reasonably practicable after such material is filed electronically with, or furnished to, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Copies of our Corporate Governance Guidelines, Code of Corporate Conduct and charters for the Audit Committee, Compensation Committee, and Corporate Governance and Nominating Committee of our Board of Directors (the Board) are also available on our Internet website. We will provide electronic or paper copies of these documents free of charge upon request. The SEC also maintains a website at www.sec.gov that contains reports, proxy and information statements and other information regarding issuers that file electronically with the SEC.
Company History
We were founded in 1946 as a fertilizer brokerage operation by a group of regional agricultural cooperatives. During the 1960s, we expanded our distribution capabilities and diversified into fertilizer manufacturing through the acquisition of several existing plants and facilities. During the 1970s and again during the 1990s, we expanded our production and distribution capabilities significantly, spending approximately $1 billion in each of these decades.
We operated as a traditional manufacturing and supply cooperative until 2002, when we adopted a new business model that established financial performance as our principal objective, rather than assured supply to our owners. A critical aspect of the new business model was to establish a more economically driven approach to the marketplace.
In August 2005, we completed our initial public offering (IPO) of common stock, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange. In connection with the IPO, we consummated a reorganization transaction whereby we ceased to be a cooperative and our pre-IPO owners' equity interests in CF Industries were canceled in exchange for all of the proceeds of the offering and shares of our common stock.
In April 2010, we acquired Terra Industries Inc. (Terra), a leading North American producer and marketer of nitrogen fertilizer products for a purchase price of $4.6 billion, which was paid in cash and shares of our common stock. As a result of the Terra acquisition, we acquired five nitrogen fertilizer manufacturing facilities, our approximately 75.3% interest in TNCLP and certain joint venture interests.
In March 2014, we completed the sale of our phosphate mining and manufacturing business, which was located in Florida, to Mosaic for approximately $1.4 billion in cash.

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CF INDUSTRIES HOLDINGS, INC.




In July 2015, we acquired the remaining 50% equity interest in CF Fertilisers UK not previously owned by us for total consideration of $570 million, and CF Fertilisers UK became wholly owned by us.
In February 2016, our strategic venture with CHS commenced, at which time CHS purchased a minority equity interest in CFN for $2.8 billion.
In 2016, we completed capacity expansion projects at Donaldsonville, Louisiana and Port Neal, Iowa which increased our production capacity by 25% for a total capital cost of $5.2 billion.
On February 7, 2018, we announced that TNGP elected to exercise its right to purchase all of the 4,612,562 publicly traded common units of TNCLP on April 2, 2018, for a cash purchase price of $84.033 per unit in accordance with the terms of TNCLP’s partnership agreement. The purchase price of all of the 4,612,562 publicly traded common units of TNCLP is approximately $390 million. Upon completion of the purchase, we will own 100 percent of the general and limited partnership interests of TNCLP.
Product Tons and Nutrient Tons
Unless otherwise stated, we measure our production and sales volume in this Annual Report on Form 10-K in product tons, which represents the weight of the product measured in short tons (one short ton is equal to 2,000 pounds). References to UAN product tons assume a 32% nitrogen content basis for production volume. 
We also provide certain supplementary volume information measured in nutrient tons. Nutrient tons represent the weight of the product’s nitrogen content, which varies by product. Ammonia represents 82% nitrogen content, granular urea represents 46% nitrogen content, UAN represents between 28% and 32% nitrogen content and AN represents between 29% and 35% nitrogen content. 
Reportable Segments
Our reportable segments consist of the following segments: ammonia, granular urea, UAN, AN and Other. These segments are differentiated by products. We use gross margin to evaluate segment performance and allocate resources. Total other operating costs and expenses (consisting of selling, general and administrative expenses and other operating—net) and non-operating expenses (interest and income taxes), are centrally managed and are not included in the measurement of segment profitability reviewed by management. See Note 20—Segment Disclosures for additional information.
Our Products
Our primary nitrogen fertilizer products are ammonia, granular urea, UAN and AN. Our historical sales of nitrogen fertilizer products are shown in the following table. Net sales do not reflect amounts used internally, such as ammonia, in the manufacture of other products.
 
2017
 
2016
 
2015
 
Sales Volume (tons)
 
Net Sales
 
Sales Volume (tons)
 
Net Sales
 
Sales Volume (tons)
 
Net Sales
 
(tons in thousands; dollars in millions)
Products
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 

 
 

Ammonia
4,105

 
$
1,209

 
2,874

 
$
981

 
2,995

 
$
1,523

Granular urea
4,357

 
971

 
3,597

 
831

 
2,460

 
788

UAN
7,093

 
1,134

 
6,681

 
1,196

 
5,865

 
1,480

AN
2,353

 
497

 
2,151

 
411

 
1,290

 
294

Other(1)
2,044

 
319

 
1,654

 
266

 
1,108

 
223

Total
19,952

 
$
4,130

 
16,957

 
$
3,685

 
13,718

 
$
4,308

_______________________________________________________________________________
(1) 
Other segment products include DEF, urea liquor, nitric acid, aqua ammonia and NPKs.
Gross margin was $430 million, $840 million and $1,547 million for the years ended December 31, 2017, 2016 and 2015, respectively.
We own and operate seven nitrogen fertilizer manufacturing facilities in North America, including five nitrogen fertilizer manufacturing facilities in the United States, one in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada and one in Courtright, Ontario, Canada. As of December 31, 2017, the combined production capacity of these seven facilities represented approximately 42%, 43%, 44%

3

CF INDUSTRIES HOLDINGS, INC.




and 19% of North American ammonia, granular urea, UAN and AN production capacity, respectively. Each of our nitrogen fertilizer manufacturing facilities in North America has on-site storage to provide flexibility to manage the flow of outbound shipments without impacting production.
We also operate two United Kingdom nitrogen manufacturing complexes located in Ince and Billingham that produce ammonia, AN and NPKs and serve primarily the British agricultural and industrial markets.
The following table shows the production capacities as of December 31, 2017 at each of our nitrogen manufacturing facilities:
 
Average Annual Capacity(1)
 
Gross
Ammonia(2)
 
Net
Ammonia(2)
 
UAN(3)
 
Urea(4)
 
AN(5)
 
Other(6)
 
(tons in thousands)
Donaldsonville, Louisiana(7)
4,335

 
1,390

 
3,255

 
2,635

 

 
445

Medicine Hat, Alberta
1,230

 
770

 

 
810

 

 

Port Neal, Iowa
1,230

 
110

 
800

 
1,350

 

 
110

Verdigris, Oklahoma(8)(9)
1,210

 
430

 
1,955

 

 

 

Woodward, Oklahoma
480

 
130

 
810

 

 

 
115

Yazoo City, Mississippi(9)(10)
570

 

 
160

 

 
1,035

 
125

Courtright, Ontario(9)(11)
500

 
265

 
345

 

 

 
400

Ince, U.K.(12)
380

 
15

 

 

 
575

 
415

Billingham, U.K.(9)
595

 
230

 

 

 
625

 
410

 
10,530

 
3,340

 
7,325

 
4,795

 
2,235

 
2,020

Unconsolidated Affiliate
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Point Lisas, Trinidad(13)
360

 
360

 

 

 

 

Total
10,890

 
3,700

 
7,325

 
4,795

 
2,235

 
2,020

_______________________________________________________________________________
(1) 
Average annual capacity includes allowance for normal outages and planned maintenance shutdowns.
(2) 
Gross ammonia capacity includes ammonia used to produce upgraded products. Net ammonia capacity is gross ammonia capacity less ammonia used to produce upgraded products based on the product mix shown in the table.
(3) 
Measured in tons of UAN containing 32% nitrogen by weight.
(4) 
Reflects granular urea capacity from the Donaldsonville, Medicine Hat, and Port Neal facilities. Urea liquor and diesel exhaust fluid production capacities are included in Other.
(5) 
AN includes prilled products (Amtrate and industrial-grade AN, or IGAN) and AN solution produced for sale.
(6) 
Includes product tons of: urea liquor and DEF from the Donaldsonville, Port Neal, Woodward, and Yazoo City, and Courtright facilities; nitric acid from the Courtright, Yazoo City, Billingham, and Ince facilities; and NPKs from the Ince facility. Production of DEF can be increased by reducing urea and/or UAN production.
(7) 
The Donaldsonville facility capacities present an estimated production mix. This facility is capable of producing between 2.4 million and 3.3 million tons of granular urea and between 1.2 million and 4.3 million tons of UAN annually. The facility is also capable of producing up to 1.2 million product tons of 32.5% DEF.
(8) 
Represents 100% of the capacity of this facility.
(9) 
Reduction of UAN or AN production at the Yazoo City, Courtright, Verdigris and Billingham facilities can allow more merchant nitric acid to be made available for sale.
(10) 
The Yazoo City facility's production capacity depends on product mix. With the facility maximizing the production of AN products, 160,000 tons of UAN can be produced. UAN production can be increased to 450,000 tons by reducing the production of AN to 900,000 tons.
(11) 
Production of urea liquor and DEF at the Courtright facility can be increased by reducing UAN production.
(12) 
The Ince facility can increase production of NPKs and nitric acid by reducing AN production.
(13) 
Represents our 50% interest in the capacity of PLNL.


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CF INDUSTRIES HOLDINGS, INC.




The following table summarizes our nitrogen fertilizer production volume for the last three years.
 
December 31,
 
2017
 
2016
 
2015
 
(tons in thousands)
Ammonia(1)
10,295

 
8,307

 
7,673

Granular urea
4,451

 
3,368

 
2,520

UAN (32%)
6,914

 
6,698

 
5,888

AN
2,127

 
1,845

 
1,283

_______________________________________________________________________________
(1) 
Gross ammonia production, including amounts subsequently upgraded on-site into granular urea, UAN or AN.
Donaldsonville, Louisiana
The Donaldsonville nitrogen fertilizer complex is the world's largest nitrogen fertilizer production facility. It has six ammonia plants, five urea plants, four nitric acid plants, three UAN plants, and one DEF plant. The complex, which is located on the Mississippi River, includes deep-water docking facilities, access to an ammonia pipeline, and truck and railroad loading capabilities. The complex has on-site storage for 160,000 tons of ammonia, 201,000 tons of UAN (measured on a 32% nitrogen content basis) and 173,000 tons of granular urea.
As part of our capacity expansion projects, the new Donaldsonville urea plant became operational during the fourth quarter of 2015. The new UAN plant was placed in service in the first quarter of 2016, and the new ammonia plant was placed in service in October 2016. For additional details regarding the capacity expansion projects, see Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Liquidity and Capital Resources.
Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada
Medicine Hat is the largest nitrogen fertilizer complex in Canada. It has two ammonia plants and one urea plant. The complex has on-site storage for 60,000 tons of ammonia and 60,000 tons of granular urea.
Port Neal, Iowa
The Port Neal facility is located approximately 12 miles south of Sioux City, Iowa on the Missouri River. The facility consists of two ammonia plants, three urea plants, two nitric acid plants and a UAN plant. The location has on-site storage for 90,000 tons of ammonia, 154,000 tons of granular urea, and 81,000 tons of 32% UAN.
As part of our capacity expansion projects, both the ammonia and urea plants were placed in service in December 2016. For additional details regarding the capacity expansion projects, see Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Liquidity and Capital Resources.
Verdigris, Oklahoma
The Verdigris facility is located northeast of Tulsa, Oklahoma, near the Verdigris River and is owned by TNLP. It is the second largest UAN production facility in North America. The facility comprises two ammonia plants, two nitric acid plants, two UAN plants and a port terminal. Through our approximately 75.3% interest in TNCLP and its subsidiary, TNLP, we operate the plants and lease the port terminal from the Tulsa-Rogers County Port Authority. The complex has on-site storage for 60,000 tons of ammonia and 100,000 tons of 32% UAN.
Woodward, Oklahoma
The Woodward facility is located in rural northwest Oklahoma and consists of an ammonia plant, two nitric acid plants, two urea plants and two UAN plants. The facility has on-site storage for 36,000 tons of ammonia and 84,000 tons of 32% UAN.
Yazoo City, Mississippi
The Yazoo City facility is located in central Mississippi and includes one ammonia plant, four nitric acid plants, an AN plant, two urea plants, a UAN plant and a dinitrogen tetroxide production and storage facility. The site has on-site storage for 50,000 tons of ammonia, 48,000 tons of 32% UAN and 11,000 tons of AN and related products.

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CF INDUSTRIES HOLDINGS, INC.




Courtright, Ontario, Canada
The Courtright facility is located south of Sarnia, Ontario near the St. Clair River. The facility consists of an ammonia plant, a UAN plant, a nitric acid plant and a urea plant. The location has on-site storage for 64,000 tons of ammonia, 10,400 tons of granular urea and 16,000 tons of 32% UAN.
Ince, United Kingdom
The Ince facility is located in northwestern England and consists of an ammonia plant, three nitric acid plants, an AN plant and three NPK plants. The location has on-site storage for 11,000 tons of ammonia, 95,000 tons of AN, and 40,000 tons of NPKs.
Billingham, United Kingdom
The Billingham facility, located in the Teesside chemical area in northeastern England, is geographically split among three primary locations: the main site, which contains an ammonia plant, three nitric acid plants and a carbon dioxide plant; the Portrack site, approximately two miles away, which contains an AN fertilizer plant; and the North Tees site, approximately seven miles away, which contains an ammonia storage area. These locations collectively have on-site storage for 40,000 tons of ammonia and 128,000 tons of AN.
Point Lisas, Trinidad
The Point Lisas Nitrogen facility in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago is owned jointly through a 50/50 venture with Koch Fertilizer LLC. This facility has the capacity to produce 720,000 tons of ammonia annually from natural gas supplied under a contract with the National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago (NGC).
Nitrogen Fertilizer Raw Materials
Natural gas is the principal raw material and primary fuel source used in the ammonia production process at our nitrogen fertilizer manufacturing facilities. In 2017, natural gas accounted for approximately 47% of our total production costs for nitrogen fertilizer products. Our nitrogen fertilizer manufacturing facilities have access to abundant, competitively-priced natural gas through a reliable network of pipelines that are connected to major natural gas trading hubs near the facilities. Our facilities utilize the following natural gas hubs: Henry Hub in Louisiana; SONAT in Louisiana; TETCO ELA in Louisiana; ONEOK in Oklahoma; AECO in Alberta; Ventura in Iowa; Demarcation in Kansas; Welcome in Minnesota; Dawn in Ontario; Parkway in Ontario; and the National Balancing Point (NBP) in the United Kingdom.
In 2017, our nitrogen manufacturing facilities consumed, in the aggregate, approximately 356 million MMBtus of natural gas. In 2017, the amount of natural gas consumed by our nitrogen manufacturing facilities increased as a result of the completion of our capacity expansion projects. We employ a combination of spot and term purchases from a variety of quality suppliers to maintain a reliable, competitively-priced supply of natural gas. We also use certain financial instruments to hedge natural gas prices. See Note 14—Derivative Financial Instruments for additional information about our natural gas hedging activities.
Nitrogen Fertilizer Distribution
The safe, efficient and economical distribution of nitrogen fertilizer products is critical for successful operations. Our nitrogen fertilizer production facilities have access to multiple transportation modes by which we ship fertilizer products to terminals, warehouses and customers. Each of our production facilities has a unique distribution pattern based on its production capacity and location.
Our North American nitrogen production facilities can ship products via truck and rail to customers and our storage facilities in the U.S. and Canada, with access to our leased railcar fleet of approximately 5,000 tank and hopper cars, as well as railcars provided by rail carriers. Our United Kingdom nitrogen production facilities mainly ship products via truck.
The North American waterway system is also used extensively to ship products from our Donaldsonville, Verdigris and Yazoo City facilities. To ship ammonia and UAN, we employ a fleet of ten tow boats and thirty-two river barges, which are primarily leased. We also utilize contract marine services to move urea fertilizer. We can also export nitrogen fertilizer products via seagoing vessels from our Donaldsonville, Yazoo City, Billingham and Ince manufacturing facilities.
Three of our nitrogen production facilities also have access to pipelines for the transportation of ammonia. The Donaldsonville facility is connected to the 2,000-mile long Nustar pipeline through which we have the ability to transport ammonia to more than 20 terminals and shipping points in the midwestern U.S. corn belt. Our Verdigris and Port Neal facilities are connected to the 1,100-mile long Magellan ammonia pipeline that also serves the Midwestern United States.

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CF INDUSTRIES HOLDINGS, INC.




Storage Facilities and Other Properties
As of December 31, 2017, we owned or leased space at 62 in-market storage terminals and warehouses located in a 22-state region of the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. Including storage at our production facilities, we have an aggregate storage capacity for approximately 3.5 million tons of fertilizer. Our storage capabilities are summarized in the following table.
 
Ammonia
 
Granular Urea
 
UAN(1)
 
AN
 
Number of
Facilities
 
Capacity
(000 Tons)
 
Number of
Facilities
 
Capacity
(000 Tons)
 
Number of
Facilities
 
Capacity
(000 Tons)
 
Number of
Facilities
 
Capacity
(000 Tons)
Plants
9

 
571

 
5

 
437

 
6

 
530

 
3

 
234

Terminal and Warehouse Locations
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Owned
22

 
810

 
1

 
200

 
8

 
219

 

 

Leased(2)
4

 
130

 
1

 
7

 
26

 
342

 

 

Total In-Market
26

 
940

 
2

 
207

 
34

 
561

 

 

Total Storage Capacity
 

 
1,511

 
 

 
644

 
 

 
1,091

 
 

 
234

_______________________________________________________________________________
(1) 
Capacity is expressed as the equivalent volume of UAN measured on a 32% nitrogen content basis.
(2) 
Our lease agreements are typically for periods of one to five years.
Customers
The principal customers for our nitrogen fertilizer and other nitrogen products are cooperatives, independent fertilizer distributors, farmers and industrial users. CHS was our largest customer in 2017 and accounted for approximately 11% of our consolidated net sales. Sales are generated by our internal marketing and sales force.
Competition
Our markets are global and intensely competitive, based primarily on delivered price and, to a lesser extent, on customer service and product quality. During the peak demand periods, product availability and delivery time also play a role in the buying decisions of customers.
Our primary North American-based competitors include Nutrien Ltd. (formed in January 2018 by the merger of Agrium Inc. and Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc.), Koch Fertilizer LLC and Iowa Fertilizer Company. Additionally, Yara BASF is expected to bring a new North American nitrogen fertilizer production facility on line in 2018. There is also significant competition from products sourced from other regions of the world, including some with lower natural gas or other feedstock costs. Because ammonia, urea and UAN are widely-traded fertilizer products and there are limited barriers to entry, we experience competition from foreign-sourced products continuously.
Our primary United Kingdom competition comes from imported products supplied by companies including Yara International, Origin Fertilisers, Ameropa, CHS and Helm. Urea and UAN are not produced in the United Kingdom, but along with AN are widely-traded fertilizer products with limited barriers to entry.
Seasonality
The fertilizer business is seasonal. The degree of seasonality of our business can change significantly from year to year due to conditions in the agricultural industry and other factors. The strongest demand for our products in North America occurs during the spring planting season, with a second period of strong demand following the fall harvest. We and our customers generally build inventories during the low demand periods of the year to ensure timely product availability during the peak sales seasons. Seasonality is greatest for ammonia due to the short application season and the limited ability of our customers and their customers to store significant quantities of this product. The seasonality of fertilizer demand generally results in our sales volumes and net sales being the highest during the spring and our working capital requirements being the highest just prior to the start of the spring planting season. Our quarterly financial results can vary significantly from one year to the next due to weather-related shifts in planting schedules and purchasing patterns.
Financial Information About Foreign and Domestic Sales and Operations
The amount of net sales attributable to our sales to foreign and domestic markets over the last three fiscal years and the carrying value of our foreign and domestic long-lived assets are set forth in Note 20—Segment Disclosures.

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Environmental, Health and Safety
We are subject to numerous environmental, health and safety laws and regulations in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, including laws and regulations relating to the generation and handling of hazardous substances and wastes; the cleanup of hazardous substance releases; the discharge of regulated substances to air or water; and the demolition of existing plant sites upon permanent closure. In the United States, these laws include the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and various other federal, state, provincial, local and international statutes. Violations of environmental, health and safety laws can result in substantial penalties, court orders to install pollution-control equipment, civil and criminal sanctions, permit revocations and facility shutdowns. In addition, environmental, health and safety laws and regulations may impose joint and several liability, without regard to fault, for cleanup costs on potentially responsible parties who have released or disposed of hazardous substances into the environment. We may be subject to more stringent enforcement of existing or new environmental, health and safety laws in the future.
Environmental, Health and Safety Expenditures
Our environmental, health and safety capital expenditures in 2017 totaled approximately $21 million. We estimate that we will have approximately $60 million of capital expenditures for environmental, health and safety in 2018. Environmental, health and safety laws and regulations are complex, change frequently and have tended to become more stringent over time. We expect that continued government and public emphasis on environmental issues will result in increased future expenditures for environmental controls at our operations. Such expenditures could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. Additionally, future environmental, health and safety laws and regulations or reinterpretation of current laws and regulations may require us to make substantial expenditures. Our costs to comply with, or any liabilities under, these laws and regulations could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
CERCLA/Remediation Matters
From time to time, we receive notices from governmental agencies or third parties alleging that we are a potentially responsible party at certain cleanup sites under CERCLA or other environmental cleanup laws. In 2011, we received a notice from the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (IDEQ) that alleged that we were a potentially responsible party for the cleanup of a former phosphate mine we owned in the late 1950s and early 1960s located in Georgetown Canyon, Idaho. The current owner of the property and a former mining contractor received similar notices for the site. We and the current owner are currently conducting a remedial investigation/feasibility study of the site. In 2015, we and several other parties received a notice that the U.S. Department of Interior and other trustees intend to undertake a natural resource damage assessment for a group of former phosphate mines in southeast Idaho, including the former Georgetown Canyon mine. See Note 19—Contingencies for additional information on the CERCLA/Remediation matters.
Regulation of Greenhouse Gases
We are subject to regulations in the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States concerning greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
The United Kingdom is a party to the Kyoto Protocol. As a result of agreements reached during a conference in Durban, South Africa in 2011, the Kyoto Protocol will continue in force for a second commitment period, which will expire by 2020. On December 12, 2015, 195 countries adopted by consensus a new international agreement known as the Paris Agreement. The Paris Agreement is intended to provide a framework pursuant to which the parties to the agreement will attempt to hold the increase in global average temperatures to below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. The Paris Agreement, which has been accepted by the United States and ratified by Canada and the United Kingdom, went into effect in November 2016. The Paris Agreement could result in more aggressive efforts to reduce GHG emissions in the jurisdictions in which we operate.
The United Kingdom has adopted GHG emissions regulations, including regulations to implement the European Union Greenhouse Gas Trading System. Our U.K. manufacturing plants are required to report GHG emissions annually to the United Kingdom Environment Agency pursuant to their site Environmental Permits and Climate Change Agreement, which specify energy efficiency targets. Failure to meet efficiency targets may require these plants to purchase CO2 emissions allowances. The steam boilers at each of our U.K. sites are also subject to the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme.
Canada withdrew from further participation in the Kyoto Protocol in December 2011, but is a party to the Paris Agreement. In Canada, we are required to conduct an annual review of our operations with respect to compliance with

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Environment Canada's National Pollutant Release Inventory and Ontario's Mandatory Monitoring and Reporting Regulation and the GHG Reporting Regulation. In addition, the Canadian national government, in collaboration with Canadian provinces, has developed a Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change. Among other things, the framework establishes a nationwide price on carbon emissions, which price serves as a floor for the GHG emissions reduction requirements of the separate Canadian provinces and territories. The announced plan would impose a $10 per ton (Canadian dollars) charge beginning in 2018, rising to $50 per ton by 2022. The framework provides for a review of the approach taken by the national government and the provinces to address further action after 2022.
Ontario is party to the Western Climate Initiative (WCI), comprising California and several Canadian provinces. On January 1, 2017, Ontario launched its own GHG cap and trade program. Under this program, the Ontario government will set a hard limit on emissions, which will steadily decline annually. By 2020, the cap will mandate that GHG emissions decline by 15% compared to 1990 levels. Facilities that generate more than 25,000 tonnes of GHG emissions per year will be required to participate in the cap and trade program and will require emissions allowances for every tonne of GHG emitted. During the 2017-2020 compliance period, we are eligible to receive free emissions allowances, although the amount of free allowances will decline through 2020. This will require us to purchase emission allowances or to reduce GHG emissions. Ontario has stated it intends to reassess the extent to which it will provide free allowances for post-2020 compliance periods. Beginning January 1, 2018, Ontario's cap and trade program is linked with the cap and trade programs of Quebec and California.
In Alberta, the Specified Gas Emitters Regulation (GHG Regulation) was implemented in 2007. This program required facilities emitting more than 100,000 tons of GHGs per year to reduce emissions by 12% over such facilities' 2007 levels. To meet this requirement, companies could reduce emissions, purchase/use offset credits, or contribute to a technology fund at an annual rate of $15 per ton of CO2. Beginning in 2018, our facility will become subject to the Carbon Competitiveness Incentive Regulation, which establishes product-specific benchmarks based on the most efficient GHG emitting facilities in a sector. Similar to the existing regulation, a facility that exceeds the applicable benchmark will be required to take action to reduce its GHG emissions intensity, purchase emissions offsets or performance credits, or make contributions to Alberta's climate fund. The obligations under this regulation are being phased in over a three year period and will be tightened over time.
The United States is not a party to the Kyoto Protocol, but is a party to the Paris Agreement. However, in June 2017, the United States announced its intention to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, subject to renegotiation of the Paris Agreement on terms more favorable to the United States. Under the terms of the Paris Agreement, the United States cannot formally provide notice of its withdrawal before November 2019, which would become effective one year after providing such notice. In the interim, it is unclear if the United States will comply with its commitments under the Paris Agreement. There has been no indication to date that the United States' announced withdrawal is causing other countries to also consider withdrawing from the Paris Agreement. In the United States, GHG regulation is evolving at state, regional and federal levels, although some of the more significant developments to date, including EPA's Clean Power Plan, do not directly impose obligations on our facilities. The EPA has issued a mandatory GHG reporting rule that required all of our U.S. manufacturing facilities to commence monitoring GHG emissions beginning on January 1, 2010 and report the previous year's emissions annually starting in 2011. In addition, if we seek to modify or expand any of our major facilities and as a result, are required to obtain a Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) construction permit applicable to such facilities, we could be subject to pollution control requirements applicable to GHGs in addition to requirements applicable to conventional air pollutants. Such requirements may result in increased costs or delays in completing such projects. Other than the states' implementation of this permitting requirement, none of the states where our U.S. production facilities are located—Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi and Oklahoma—has proposed control regulations limiting GHG emissions.
New Source Performance Standards for Nitric Acid Plants
We operate 14 nitric acid plants in the United States. On August 14, 2012, the EPA issued a final regulation revising air emission standards applicable to newly constructed, reconstructed or modified nitric acid plants. The regulations will apply to these plants if and when we undertake activities or operations that are considered modifications, including physical changes that would allow us to increase our production capacity at these plants. The regulations include certain provisions that could make it difficult for us to meet the limits on emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) notwithstanding pollution controls we may add to our plants, and accordingly, the regulations could impact our ability to expand production at our existing plants. The EPA regulation did not include a limitation on emissions of nitrous oxide (a greenhouse gas).

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Regulatory Permits and Approvals
We hold numerous environmental and other governmental permits and approvals authorizing operations at each of our facilities. A decision by a government agency to deny or delay issuing a new or renewed regulatory material permit or approval, or to revoke or substantially modify an existing material permit or approval, could have a material adverse effect on our ability to continue operations at the affected facility. Any future expansion of our existing operations is also predicated upon securing the necessary environmental or other permits or approvals. More stringent environmental standards may impact our ability to obtain such permits. On December 15, 2016, the EPA re-designated the Greater Baton Rouge Nonattainment Area (BRNA), where our Donaldsonville facility is located, to attainment with the 2008 8-hour ozone standard. However, on October 26, 2015, the EPA published a more stringent national ambient air quality standard for ozone. The State of Louisiana has recommended to the EPA that Baton Rouge be designated as nonattainment with the 2015 ozone standard. On December 20, 2017, the EPA notified the State of Louisiana that it intends to designate the Baton Rouge area as non-attainment for the 2015 ozone standard. On January 5, 2018, the EPA published notice of a public comment period with respect to the proposed attainment/non-attainment designations of certain air quality regions, including the Baton Rouge area. Such a classification (in the Baton Rouge area or in other areas where our manufacturing facilities are located) could result in more stringent air pollution emissions limits for our existing operations and would also subject our facilities to more stringent requirements to obtain approvals for plant expansions, or could make it difficult to obtain such approvals.
Employees
As of December 31, 2017, we employed approximately 2,900 full-time and 100 part-time employees.

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ITEM 1A.    RISK FACTORS.
        In addition to the other information contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, you should carefully consider the factors discussed below before deciding to invest in any of our securities. These risks and uncertainties could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
Our business is cyclical, resulting in periods of industry oversupply during which our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows tend to be negatively affected.
Historically, selling prices for our products have fluctuated in response to periodic changes in supply and demand conditions. Demand for nitrogen is affected by planted acreage, crop selection and fertilizer application rates, driven by population growth or changes in dietary habits and non-food use of crops, such as production of ethanol and other biofuels among other things. Demand also includes industrial uses of nitrogen, for example chemicals manufacturing and emissions reductants such as diesel exhaust fluid (DEF). Supply is affected by available capacity and operating rates, raw material costs and availability, government policies and global trade.
Periods of strong demand, high capacity utilization and increasing operating margins tend to stimulate global investment in production capacity. The construction of new nitrogen fertilizer manufacturing capacity in the industry, plus improvements to increase output from the existing production assets, increase nitrogen supply availability and affect the balance of supply and demand. In recent years, fertilizer producers, including CF Holdings, have built new production facilities or expanded capacity of existing production assets, or announced plans to do so. Global nitrogen fertilizer capacity has increased faster than global nitrogen fertilizer demand, creating a surplus of global nitrogen fertilizer capacity leading to lower nitrogen fertilizer selling prices.
Selling prices reached multi-year lows in 2017. The average selling price for our products in 2017 was $207 per ton compared to $217 per ton in 2016, a decline of 5%, and $314 per ton in 2015, a decline of 31%.
Additional production capacity is expected to come on line over the next twelve months. We cannot predict the extent to which the current oversupply environment, global or local economic and financial conditions or changes in such conditions, or other factors may cause delays, cancellation or acceleration of other announced and/or ongoing projects. We also cannot predict the closures or operating rates of existing installed capacity.
Price fluctuations for our products result from changes in supply demand balances. The significant price fluctuations we have experienced are also a symptom of an oversupplied market in transition as new capacity ramps up and trade flows adjust.  Imports into different regions of the world impact the local supply demand balances. If imports increase into an oversupplied region, lower prices in that region could result.
We expect the lower priced environment to continue until global supply and demand become more balanced through a combination of continued demand growth and supply reductions as producers respond to lower realized margins by taking higher cost production facilities off line.
During periods of industry oversupply, our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows tend to be affected negatively as the price at which we sell our products typically declines, resulting in possible reduced profit margins, write-downs in the value of our inventory and temporary or permanent curtailments of production. Our financial performance, credit ratings and the trading price for our common stock have been negatively impacted by the lower selling prices resulting from the current global oversupply of nitrogen fertilizer. The period of time that these conditions will persist and the degree to which they will impact our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows is uncertain.
Our products are global commodities, and we face intense global competition from other fertilizer producers.
We are subject to intense price competition from our competitors. Most fertilizers are global commodities, with little or no product differentiation, and customers make their purchasing decisions principally on the basis of delivered price and to a lesser extent on customer service and product quality.
We compete with many producers, including state-owned and government-subsidized entities. Consolidation in the industry may increase the resources of several of our competitors. For example, in January 2018, our competitors Agrium Inc. and Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc. completed their merger into the newly formed company Nutrien Ltd. Some of our competitors have greater total resources and are less dependent on earnings from fertilizer sales, which make them less vulnerable to industry downturns and better positioned to pursue new expansion and development opportunities. Furthermore, certain governments as owners of some of our competitors may be willing to accept lower prices and profitability on their products in order to support domestic employment or other political or social goals. Our competitive position could suffer to the

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extent we are not able to expand our own resources, either through investments in new or existing operations or through acquisitions, joint ventures or partnerships.
China, the world’s largest producer and consumer of nitrogen fertilizers, currently has significant capacity surplus and many high-cost plants. As a result, the domestic nitrogen industry in China is operating at less than full capacity. If Chinese government policy, devaluation of the Chinese renminbi or decreases in Chinese producers’ underlying costs such as the price of Chinese coal encourage increased production capacity utilization, any resulting export volume could adversely affect the balance between global supply and demand and may put downward pressure on global fertilizer prices, which could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.    
Our competitors in Russia continue to benefit from non-market pricing of natural gas, allowing continued exports from the region, and have significant nitrogen fertilizer export capacity. The 2016 revocations of U.S. antidumping measures on solid urea and fertilizer grade ammonium nitrate from Russia allow for increases in imports from that country.
We also face competition from other fertilizer producers in the Middle East, Europe and Latin America, who, depending on market conditions, fluctuating input prices, geographic location and freight economics, may take actions at times with respect to price or selling volumes that adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
A decline in agricultural production or limitations on the use of our products for agricultural purposes could materially adversely affect the demand for our products.
Conditions in the United States, Europe and other global agricultural areas significantly impact our operating results. Agricultural planted areas and production can be affected by a number of factors, including weather patterns and field conditions, current and projected grain inventories and prices, demand for agricultural products and governmental policies regarding production of or trade in agricultural products. These factors are outside of our control.
Governmental policies, including farm and biofuel subsidies and commodity support programs, as well as the prices of fertilizer products, may also directly or indirectly influence the number of acres planted, the mix of crops planted and the use of fertilizers for particular agricultural applications. Ethanol production in the United States contributes significantly to corn demand, due in part to federal legislation mandating use of renewable fuels. An increase in ethanol production has led to an increase in the amount of corn grown in the United States and to increased fertilizer usage on both corn and other crops that have also benefited from improved farm economics. While the current Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) encourages continued high levels of corn-based ethanol production, a continuing “food versus fuel” debate and other factors have resulted in calls to eliminate or reduce the renewable fuel mandate, or to eliminate or reduce corn-based ethanol as part of the renewable fuel mandate. This could have an adverse effect on corn-based ethanol production, planted corn acreage and fertilizer demand.
Developments in crop technology, such as nitrogen fixation, the conversion of atmospheric nitrogen into compounds that plants can assimilate, or nitrogen-efficient varieties, could also reduce the use of chemical fertilizers and adversely affect the demand for our products. Widespread adoption of emerging application technologies could disrupt traditional application practices, affecting the volume or types of products used and timing of applications. In addition, from time to time various state legislatures have considered limitations on the use and application of chemical fertilizers due to concerns about the impact of these products on the environment. Any reduction in the demand for chemical fertilizer products, including any limitation on the use and application of chemical fertilizer, could affect the demand for our products, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
Our business is dependent on natural gas, the prices of which are subject to volatility.
Natural gas is the principal raw material used to produce nitrogen fertilizers. We use natural gas both as a chemical feedstock and as a fuel to produce ammonia, granular urea, urea ammonium nitrate solution (UAN), ammonium nitrate (AN) and other nitrogen products.
Because most of our nitrogen fertilizer manufacturing facilities are located in the United States and Canada, North American natural gas comprises a significant portion of the total production cost of our products. The price of natural gas in North America has been volatile in recent years. During 2017, the daily closing price at the Henry Hub, the most heavily-traded natural gas pricing point in North America, reached a low of $2.44 per MMBtu on February 28, 2017 and a high of $3.65 per MMBtu on three consecutive days in January 2017. During the three-year period ended December 31, 2017, the daily closing price at the Henry Hub reached a low of $1.49 per MMBtu on three consecutive days in March 2016 and a high of $3.77 per MMBtu on December 8, 2016.
We also have manufacturing facilities located in the United Kingdom. These facilities are subject to fluctuations associated with the price of natural gas in Europe. The major natural gas trading point for the United Kingdom is the National

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Balancing Point. During 2017, the daily closing price at NBP reached a low of $3.30 per MMBtu on June 15, 2017 and a high of $9.00 per MMBtu on December 12, 2017. During the three-year period ended December 31, 2017, the daily closing price at NBP reached a low of $2.80 per MMBtu on September 1, September 12 and September 14, 2016 and a high of $9.00 per MMBtu on December 12, 2017.
Changes in the supply of and demand for natural gas can lead to periods of volatile natural gas prices. If high prices were to occur during a period of low fertilizer selling prices, it could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
The price of natural gas in North America and worldwide has been volatile in recent years and has declined on average due in part to the development of significant natural gas reserves, including shale gas, and the rapid improvement in shale gas extraction techniques, such as hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling. Future production of natural gas from shale formations could be reduced by regulatory changes that restrict drilling or hydraulic fracturing or increase its cost or by reduction in oil exploration and development prompted by lower oil prices and resulting in production of less associated gas. Additionally, increased demand for natural gas, particularly in the Gulf Coast Region, due to increased industrial demand and increased natural gas exports could result in increased natural gas prices. If such reduced production or increased demand were to occur, or if other developments adversely impact the supply/demand balance for natural gas in the United States or elsewhere, natural gas prices could rise, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
Our operations and those of our joint venture are dependent upon raw materials provided by third parties, and any delay or interruption in the delivery of raw materials may adversely affect our business.
We and our joint venture use natural gas and other raw materials in the manufacture of nitrogen products. We purchase the natural gas and other raw materials from third party suppliers. Our natural gas is transported by pipeline to our facilities and those of our joint venture by third party transportation providers or through the use of facilities owned by third parties. Delays or interruptions in the delivery of natural gas or other raw materials may be caused by, among other things, severe weather or natural disasters, unscheduled downtime, labor difficulties, insolvency of our suppliers or their inability to meet existing contractual arrangements, deliberate sabotage and terrorist incidents, or mechanical failures. Our joint venture, Point Lisas Nitrogen Limited, has experienced numerous natural gas curtailments as discussed in the risk factor below titled "We are exposed to risks associated with our joint venture." In addition, the transport of natural gas by pipeline is subject to additional risks, including delays or interruptions caused by capacity constraints, leaks or ruptures. Any delay or interruption in the delivery of natural gas or other raw materials, even for a limited period, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
Our transportation and distribution activities rely on third party providers and are subject to environmental, safety and regulatory oversight. This exposes us to risks and uncertainties beyond our control that may adversely affect our operations and exposes us to additional liability.
We rely on railroad, truck, pipeline, river barge and ocean vessel companies to transport raw materials to our manufacturing facilities, to coordinate and deliver finished products to our distribution system and to ship finished products to our customers. We also lease rail cars in order to ship raw materials and finished products. These transportation operations, equipment and services are subject to various hazards, including adverse operating conditions on the inland waterway system, extreme weather conditions, system failures, work stoppages, delays, accidents such as spills and derailments and other accidents and operating hazards. Additionally, due to the aging infrastructure of certain bridges, roadways, rail lines, river locks, and equipment that our third party service providers utilize, we may experience delays in both the receipt of raw materials or the shipment of finished product while repairs, maintenance or replacement activities are conducted. Also, certain third party service providers, particularly railroads, have experienced periodic service slowdowns due to capacity constraints in their systems, operational and maintenance difficulties and other events, which impact the shipping times of our products.
These transportation operations, equipment and services are also subject to environmental, safety, and regulatory oversight. Due to concerns related to accidents, discharges or other releases of hazardous substances, terrorism or the potential use of fertilizers as explosives, governmental entities could implement new or more stringent regulatory requirements affecting the transportation of raw materials or finished products.
If shipping of our products is delayed or we are unable to obtain raw materials as a result of these transportation companies’ failure to operate properly, or if new and more stringent regulatory requirements are implemented affecting transportation operations or equipment, or if there are significant increases in the cost of these services or equipment, our revenues and cost of operations could be adversely affected. In addition, increases in our transportation costs, or changes in

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such costs relative to transportation costs incurred by our competitors, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
In the United States and Canada, the railroad industry continues various efforts to limit the railroads’ potential liability stemming from the transportation of Toxic Inhalation Hazard materials, such as the anhydrous ammonia we transport to and from our manufacturing and distribution facilities. For example, various railroads shift liability to shippers by contract, purport to shift liability to shippers by tariff, or otherwise seek to require shippers to indemnify and defend the railroads from and against liabilities (including in negligence, strict liability, or statutory liability) that may arise from certain acts or omissions of the railroads, third parties with insufficient resources, unknown causes or acts of god. These initiatives could materially and adversely affect our operating expenses and potentially our ability to transport anhydrous ammonia and increase our liability for releases of our anhydrous ammonia while in the care, custody and control of the railroads or third parties, for which our insurance may be insufficient or unavailable. New or more stringent regulatory requirements also could be implemented affecting the equipment used to ship our raw materials or finished products. Restrictions on service, increases in transportation costs, or changes in such costs relative to transportation costs incurred by our competitors, and any railroad industry initiatives that may impact our ability to transport our products, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
Our operations and the production and handling of our products involve significant risks and hazards. We are not fully insured against all potential hazards and risks incident to our business. Therefore, our insurance coverage may not adequately cover our losses.
Our operations are subject to hazards inherent in the manufacture, transportation, storage and distribution of chemical products, including ammonia, which is highly toxic and corrosive. These hazards include: explosions; fires; severe weather and natural disasters; train derailments, collisions, vessel groundings and other transportation and maritime incidents; leaks and ruptures involving storage tanks, pipelines and rail cars; spills, discharges and releases of toxic or hazardous substances or gases; deliberate sabotage and terrorist incidents; mechanical failures; unscheduled plant downtime; labor difficulties and other risks. Some of these hazards can cause bodily injury and loss of life, severe damage to or destruction of property and equipment and environmental damage, and may result in suspension of operations and the imposition of civil or criminal penalties and liabilities.
We maintain property, business interruption, casualty and liability insurance policies, but we are not fully insured against all potential hazards and risks incident to our business. If we were to incur significant liability for which we were not fully insured, it could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. We are subject to various self-retentions, deductibles and limits under these insurance policies. The policies also contain exclusions and conditions that could have a material adverse impact on our ability to receive indemnification thereunder. Our policies are generally renewed annually. As a result of market conditions, our premiums, self-retentions and deductibles for certain insurance policies can increase substantially and, in some instances, certain insurance may become unavailable or available only for reduced amounts of coverage. In addition, significantly increased costs could lead us to decide to reduce, or possibly eliminate, coverage. There can be no assurance that we will be able to buy and maintain insurance with adequate limits and reasonable pricing terms and conditions.
In April 2013, there was a fire and explosion at the West Fertilizer Co. fertilizer storage and distribution facility in West, Texas. According to published reports, 15 people were killed and approximately 200 people were injured in the incident, and the fire and explosion damaged or destroyed a number of homes and buildings around the facility. Various subsidiaries of CF Industries Holdings, Inc. (the CF Entities) have been named as defendants along with other companies in lawsuits filed in 2013, 2014 and 2015 in the District Court of McLennan County, Texas by the City of West, individual residents of the County and other parties seeking recovery for damages allegedly sustained as a result of the explosion. The cases have been consolidated for discovery and pretrial proceedings in the District Court of McLennan County under the caption “In re: West Explosion Cases.” The two-year statute of limitations expired on April 17, 2015. As of that date, over 400 plaintiffs had filed claims, including at least 9 entities, 325 individuals, and 80 insurance companies. Plaintiffs allege various theories of negligence, strict liability, and breach of warranty under Texas law. Although we do not own or operate the facility or directly sell our products to West Fertilizer Co., products that the CF Entities have manufactured and sold to others have been delivered to the facility and may have been stored at the West facility at the time of the incident. The Court granted in part and denied in part the CF Entities’ Motions for Summary Judgment in August 2015. Over one hundred sixty cases have been resolved pursuant to confidential settlements that have been or we expect will be fully funded by insurance. The remaining cases are in various stages of discovery and pre-trial proceedings. The next trial is expected to be scheduled for later in 2018. We believe we have strong legal and factual defenses and intend to continue defending the CF Entities vigorously in the pending lawsuits. The increased focus on the risks associated with fertilizers as a result of the incident could impact the regulatory environment and requirements applicable to fertilizer manufacturing and storage facilities.

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Our substantial indebtedness could adversely affect our cash flow, prevent us from fulfilling our obligations and impair our ability to pursue or achieve other business objectives.
As of December 31, 2017, we had approximately $4.69 billion of total funded indebtedness, consisting primarily of secured and unsecured senior notes with varying maturity dates between 2020 and 2044, or approximately 41% of our total capitalization, and an additional $695 million of senior secured borrowing availability (reflecting no outstanding borrowings and $55 million of outstanding letters of credit) under our senior secured revolving credit agreement (as amended, the Revolving Credit Agreement). Our substantial debt service obligations will have an impact on our earnings and cash flow for so long as the indebtedness is outstanding.
Our substantial indebtedness could, through the operation of the financial and other restrictive covenants to which we are subject under the agreements and instruments governing that indebtedness and otherwise, have important consequences. For example, it could:
make it more difficult for us to pay or refinance our debts as they become due during adverse economic and industry conditions because any related decrease in revenues could cause us not to have sufficient cash flows from operations to make our scheduled debt payments;
cause us to be less able to take advantage of significant business opportunities, such as acquisition opportunities, and to react to changes in market or industry conditions;
cause us to use a portion of our cash flow from operations for debt service, reducing the availability of cash to fund working capital and capital expenditures, and other business activities;
cause us to be more vulnerable to general adverse economic and industry conditions;
expose us to the risk of increased interest rates because certain of our borrowings, including borrowings under our Revolving Credit Agreement, could be at variable rates of interest;
make us more leveraged than some of our competitors, which could place us at a competitive disadvantage;
restrict our investments in our subsidiaries, which could limit our ability to fund certain of our businesses;
restrict our ability to dispose of assets or otherwise restrict our use of funds from the disposal of assets;
restrict our ability to pay dividends on our common stock or utilize excess cash to repurchase shares of our common stock;
limit our ability to borrow additional monies in the future to fund working capital, capital expenditures and other general corporate purposes; and
result in a downgrade in the credit rating of our indebtedness which could increase the cost of further borrowings.
We expect to consider options to refinance our outstanding indebtedness from time to time. Our ability to obtain any financing, whether through the issuance of new debt securities or otherwise, and the terms of any such financing are dependent on, among other things, our financial condition, financial market conditions within our industry and generally, credit ratings and numerous other factors, including factors beyond our control. Consequently, in the event that we need to access the credit markets, including to refinance our debt, there can be no assurance that we will be able to obtain financing on acceptable terms or within an acceptable timeframe, if at all. An inability to obtain financing with acceptable terms when needed could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
Our Revolving Credit Agreement and the terms of our outstanding indebtedness impose significant operating and financial restrictions on us and our subsidiaries, which may prevent us from capitalizing on business opportunities.
Our Revolving Credit Agreement imposes significant operating and financial restrictions on us. These restrictions include covenants limiting our ability and the ability of our subsidiaries (other than certain excluded subsidiaries) to, among other things:
incur additional indebtedness or guarantee indebtedness;
pay dividends on, repurchase or make distributions in respect of their capital stock or make other restricted payments;
make certain investments or acquisitions;
sell, transfer or otherwise convey certain assets;
create liens;
consolidate, merge, sell or otherwise dispose of all or substantially all of our and our restricted subsidiaries’ assets; and
prepay certain kinds of indebtedness.
In addition, our Revolving Credit Agreement requires us to comply with consolidated interest coverage ratio, total debt to capital ratio, and consolidated secured leverage ratio maintenance covenants.


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Certain of these restrictions could be suspended if and for so long as we satisfy certain investment grade corporate rating and consolidated leverage tests. However, we cannot assure you that we will meet these tests or, if we do, that we will be able to maintain compliance with those conditions.
As a result of these restrictions and covenants under our existing indebtedness, including our senior secured notes, we are limited as to how we conduct our business and we may be unable to raise additional debt financing to compete effectively or to take advantage of new business opportunities. The terms of any future indebtedness we may incur could include additional or more restrictive covenants. We cannot assure you that we will be able to maintain compliance with the covenants under the terms of our indebtedness or, if we fail to do so, that we will be able to obtain waivers from the lenders and/or amend such covenants.
We may incur additional indebtedness in the future.
The terms of our existing indebtedness allow us to incur additional debt in the future, including additional secured and unsecured indebtedness. The indentures governing our senior secured notes do not limit incurrence by us of additional unsecured indebtedness, and will permit us to incur additional secured indebtedness subject to certain restrictions. Although our Revolving Credit Agreement contains restrictions on our ability to incur additional secured and unsecured indebtedness, these restrictions are subject to exceptions and qualifications, which allow us to incur additional secured and unsecured indebtedness in limited amounts. If we incur additional indebtedness, the risks that we face as a result of our leverage could intensify. If our financial condition or operating results deteriorate, our relations with our creditors, including the holders of our outstanding debt securities, the lenders under our Revolving Credit Agreement and our suppliers, may be materially and adversely affected.
A breach of the covenants under any of the agreements governing our indebtedness could result in an event of default under such agreements.
Our ability to comply with the covenants in the agreements and instruments governing our indebtedness will depend upon our future performance and various other factors, such as market prices for our nitrogen products, natural gas prices and other business, competitive and regulatory factors, many of which are beyond our control. We may not be able to maintain compliance with all of these covenants. In that event, we would need to seek an amendment to our debt agreements or would need to refinance our indebtedness. There can be no assurance that we can obtain future amendments or waivers of our debt agreements and instruments, or refinance our debt, and, even if we were able to do so, such relief might only last for a limited period, potentially necessitating additional amendments, waivers or refinancings. Any noncompliance by us with the covenants under our debt agreements and instruments could result in an event of default under those debt agreements and instruments. An event of default under an agreement or instrument governing any of our indebtedness may allow our creditors to accelerate the related debt and may result in the acceleration of any other debt to which a cross-acceleration or cross-default provision applies. If our lenders or holders of our debt securities accelerate the repayment of borrowings, we may be forced to liquidate certain assets to repay all or part of our indebtedness, which could materially and adversely impair our business operations. An event of default under our Revolving Credit Agreement would permit the lenders thereunder to terminate all commitments to extend further credit under our Revolving Credit Agreement. Furthermore, our Revolving Credit Agreement and senior secured notes provide for liens on specified collateral to secure our obligations thereunder, and if we were unable to repay amounts due and payable under our Revolving Credit Agreement or the senior secured notes, our Revolving Credit Agreement lenders or holders of the senior secured notes, as applicable, could proceed against the collateral granted to them, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. In the event our creditors accelerate the repayment of our indebtedness, we cannot assure that we would have sufficient assets to make such repayment.
Potential future downgrades of our credit ratings could adversely affect our access to capital and could otherwise have a material adverse effect on us.
As of February 15, 2018, our corporate credit rating by S&P Global Ratings (S&P) is BB+ with a negative outlook; our corporate credit rating by Moody's Investor Services, Inc. (Moody's) is Ba2 with a stable outlook; and our corporate credit rating with Fitch Ratings, Inc. (Fitch) is BB+ with a negative outlook.
These ratings and our current credit condition affect, among other things, our ability to access new capital, especially debt, and negative changes in these ratings may result in more stringent covenants and higher interest rates under the terms of any new debt. Our credit ratings were downgraded in 2016 and rating agencies could further downgrade our credit ratings or issue adverse commentaries in the future, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and liquidity. In particular, a weakening of our financial condition, including a significant increase in our leverage or decrease in our profitability or cash flows, could adversely affect our ability to obtain necessary funds, result in a credit rating downgrade or change in outlook, or otherwise increase our cost of borrowing.

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Cyber security risks could result in disruptions in business operations and adverse operating results.
We rely on information technology and computer control systems in many aspects of our business, including internal and external communications, the management of our accounting, financial and supply chain functions and plant operations. Business and supply chain disruptions, plant and utility outages and information technology system and network disruptions due to cyber attacks could seriously harm our operations and materially adversely affect our operating results. Cyber security risks include attacks on information technology and infrastructure by hackers, damage or loss of information due to viruses, the unintended disclosure of confidential information, the misuse or loss of control over computer control systems, and breaches due to employee error. Our exposure to cyber security risks includes exposure through third parties on whose systems we place significant reliance for the conduct of our business. We routinely review and implement security procedures and measures in order to protect our systems and information from being vulnerable to evolving cyber attacks. We believe these measures and procedures are appropriate. However, we may not have the resources or technical sophistication to anticipate, prevent, or recover from rapidly evolving types of cyber attacks. Compromises to our information and control systems could have severe financial and other business implications.
Adverse weather conditions may decrease demand for our fertilizer products, increase the cost of natural gas or materially disrupt our operations.
Weather conditions that delay or disrupt field work during the planting, growing, harvesting or application periods may cause agricultural customers to use different forms of nitrogen fertilizer, which may adversely affect demand for the forms that we sell or may impede farmers from applying our fertilizers until the following application period, resulting in lower seasonal demand for our products.
Adverse weather conditions during or following harvest may delay or eliminate opportunities to apply fertilizer in the fall. Weather can also have an adverse effect on crop yields, which could lower the income of growers and impair their ability to purchase fertilizer from our customers. Our quarterly financial results can vary significantly from one year to the next due to weather-related shifts in planting schedules and purchasing patterns.
Weather conditions or, in certain cases, weather forecasts, also can affect the price of natural gas, the principal raw material used to make our nitrogen fertilizer products. Colder than normal winters and warmer than normal summers increase the demand for natural gas for power generation and for residential and industrial use, which can increase the cost and/or decrease the availability of natural gas. In addition, adverse weather events such as very low temperatures leading to well freeze-offs or hurricanes affecting the Gulf of Mexico coastal states can impact the supply of natural gas and cause prices to rise.
Tax matters, including changes in tax laws or rates, adverse determinations by taxing authorities and imposition of new taxes could adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.
We are subject to taxes in the United States, where most of our operations are located, and numerous foreign jurisdictions where our subsidiaries are organized. Tax rates in various jurisdictions in which we operate may be subject to significant change. Our future effective tax rate could be affected by changes in our mix of earnings from countries with differing statutory tax rates and tax systems, changes in valuation of deferred tax assets and liabilities or changes in tax laws or their interpretation.
We are also subject to regular reviews, examinations and audits by the IRS and other taxing authorities with respect to taxes inside and outside of the United States. Although we believe our tax estimates are reasonable, if a taxing authority disagrees with the positions we have taken, we could face additional tax liability, including interest and penalties. There can be no assurance that payment of such additional amounts upon final adjudication of any disputes will not have a material impact on our results of operations and financial condition.
We have used the cash we generate outside the United States primarily to fund development of our business in non-U.S. jurisdictions. If the funds generated by our U.S. business are not sufficient to meet our need for cash in the United States, we may need to repatriate a portion of our future international earnings to the United States. Under the tax laws of the foreign countries in which we operate, those international earnings would be subject to withholding taxes when repatriated; therefore, the repatriation of those earnings could result in an increase in our worldwide effective tax rate and an increase in our use of cash to pay these taxes.
We also need to comply with other new, evolving or revised tax laws and regulations. The enactment of, or increases in, tariffs or value added taxes, or other changes in the application of existing taxes, in markets in which we are currently active, or may be active in the future, or on specific products that we sell or with which our products compete, could have an adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition.

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On December 22, 2017, the president of the United States signed into law the Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017 (the "Tax Act" or "Tax Reform"). The Tax Act significantly changes how the U.S. taxes corporations. The Tax Act requires complex computations to be performed that were not previously required in U.S. tax law, significant judgments to be made in interpretation of the provisions of the Tax Act and significant estimates in calculations, and the preparation and analysis of information not previously relevant or regularly produced. The U.S. Treasury Department, the IRS, and other standard-setting bodies could interpret or issue guidance on how provisions of the Tax Act will be applied or otherwise administered that is different from the interpretation currently reflected in our financial statements or tax returns. As we continue our analysis of the Tax Act, we may make adjustments to provisional amounts that we have recorded that may materially impact our provision for income taxes in the period in which such adjustments are made.
In addition, foreign governments may enact tax laws in response to the Tax Act that could result in further changes to global taxation and materially affect our financial position and results of operations.
We are reliant on a limited number of key facilities.
Our nitrogen fertilizer operations are located at nine separate nitrogen complexes, the largest of which is the Donaldsonville complex, which represented approximately 40% of our ammonia production capacity as of December 31, 2017. The suspension of operations at any of these complexes could adversely affect our ability to produce our products and fulfill our commitments, and could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. In addition, our Donaldsonville complex is located in an area of the United States that experiences a relatively high level of hurricane or high wind activity and several of our complexes are located in areas that experience severe weather. Such storms, depending on their severity and location, have the potential not only to damage our facilities and disrupt our operations, but also to affect adversely the shipping and distribution of our products. Moreover, our facilities may be subject to failure of equipment that may be difficult to replace and could result in operational disruptions.
We are subject to numerous environmental, health and safety laws, regulations and permitting requirements, as well as potential environmental liabilities, which may require us to make substantial expenditures.
We are subject to numerous environmental, health and safety laws and regulations in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, including laws and regulations relating to the generation and handling of hazardous substances and wastes; the cleanup of hazardous substance releases; the discharge of regulated substances to air or water; and the demolition of existing plant sites upon permanent closure. In the United States, these laws include the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, the Toxic Substances Control Act and various other federal, state, provincial, local and international statutes.
As a producer of nitrogen fertilizer products working with hazardous substances, our business faces risks of spills, discharges or other releases of those substances into the environment. Certain environmental laws, including CERCLA, impose joint and several liability, without regard to fault, for cleanup costs on persons who have disposed of or released hazardous substances into the environment. Given the nature of our business, we have incurred, are incurring currently, and are likely to incur periodically in the future, liabilities under CERCLA and other environmental cleanup laws at our current facilities or facilities previously owned by us or other acquired businesses, adjacent or nearby third-party facilities or offsite disposal locations. The costs associated with future cleanup activities that we may be required to conduct or finance may be material. Additionally, we may become liable to third parties for damages, including personal injury and property damage, resulting from the disposal or release of hazardous substances into the environment.
Violations of environmental, health and safety laws can result in substantial penalties, court orders to install pollution-control equipment, civil and criminal sanctions, permit revocations and facility shutdowns. Environmental, health and safety laws change regularly and have tended to become more stringent over time. As a result, we have not always been and may not always be in compliance with all environmental, health and safety laws and regulations. We may be subject to more stringent enforcement of existing or new environmental, health and safety laws in the future. Additionally, future environmental, health and safety laws and regulations or reinterpretation of current laws and regulations may require us to make substantial expenditures. Our costs to comply with, or any liabilities under, these laws and regulations could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
From time to time, our production of anhydrous ammonia has resulted in accidental releases that have temporarily disrupted our manufacturing operations and resulted in liability for administrative penalties and claims for personal injury. To date, our costs to resolve these liabilities have not been material. However, we could incur significant costs if our liability coverage is not sufficient to pay for all or a large part of any judgments against us, or if our insurance carrier refuses coverage for these losses.

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We hold numerous environmental and other governmental permits and approvals authorizing operations at each of our facilities. Expansion or modification of our operations is predicated upon securing necessary environmental or other permits or approvals. A decision by a government agency to deny or delay issuing a new or renewed regulatory material permit or approval, or to revoke or substantially modify an existing permit or approval, or a determination that we have violated a law or permit as a result of a governmental inspection of our facilities could have a material adverse effect on our ability to continue operations at our facilities and on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. On October 26, 2015, the EPA published a final regulation lowering the national ambient air quality standard for ozone. Ozone attainment designations were due by October 1, 2017. In November 2017, the EPA issued a partial list of air quality regions that are in attainment with the 2015 ozone standard, but it has not yet promulgated the final list of air quality regions that will be classified as as being in nonattainment with the ozone standard. These regions will be subject to more stringent permitting requirements, which in turn could make it much more difficult and expensive to obtain permits to construct new facilities or expand our existing operations.
Future regulatory restrictions on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the jurisdictions in which we operate could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
We are subject to GHG regulations in the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States. In the United States, our existing facilities currently are only subject to GHG emissions reporting obligations, although our new and modified facilities are likely to be subject to GHG emissions standards included in their air permits. Our facilities in the United Kingdom are subject to regulatory emissions trading systems, which generally require us to hold or obtain emissions allowances to offset GHG emissions from those aspects of our operations that are subject to regulation under this program. Our facility in Alberta, Canada has been subject to a provincial regulation requiring reductions in the facility’s net emissions intensity, which can be met by facility improvements, the purchase of emissions offsets or performance credits, or contributions to a non-profit climate change fund established by Alberta. Beginning in 2018, our facility became subject to the Carbon Competitiveness Incentive Regulation. This regulation establishes product-specific benchmarks based on the most efficient GHG emitting facilities in a sector. Similar to the existing regulation, a facility that exceeds the applicable benchmark is required to take action to reduce its GHG emissions intensity, purchase emissions offsets or performance credits, or make contributions to Alberta's climate fund. The obligations under this regulation are being phased in over a three-year period and will be tightened over time.
Our Courtright, Ontario facility is subject to Ontario’s GHG cap-and-trade program that began in January 2017. In addition, the Canadian national government, in collaboration with Canadian provinces, has developed the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change. Among other things, the framework establishes a nationwide price on carbon emissions, which price serves as a floor for the GHG emissions reduction requirements of the separate Canadian provinces and territories. The announced plan would impose a $10 per ton (Canadian dollars) charge beginning in 2018, rising to $50 per ton by 2022. The framework provides for review of the approach taken by the national government and the provinces to address future action after 2022.
There are substantial uncertainties as to the nature, stringency and timing of any future GHG regulations. On December 12, 2015, 195 countries adopted by consensus a new international agreement known as the Paris Agreement. The Paris Agreement, which has been accepted by the United States and ratified by Canada and the United Kingdom, went into effect in November 2016. However, in June 2017, the United States announced its intention to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, subject to renegotiation of the Paris Agreement on terms more favorable to the United States. Under the terms of the Paris Agreement, the United States cannot formally provide notice of its withdrawal before November 2019, which would become effective one year after providing such notice. In the interim, it is unclear if the United States will comply with its commitments under the Paris Agreement. There has been no indication to date that the United States' announced withdrawal is causing other countries to also consider withdrawing from the Paris Agreement. If the Paris Agreement remains in effect, it could result in more aggressive efforts to reduce GHG emissions in the jurisdictions in which we operate.
More stringent GHG regulations, if they are enacted, are likely to have a significant impact on us, because our production facilities emit GHGs such as carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide and because natural gas, a fossil fuel, is a primary raw material used in our nitrogen production process. Regulation of GHGs may require us to make changes in our operating activities that would increase our operating costs, reduce our efficiency, limit our output, require us to make capital improvements to our facilities, increase our costs for or limit the availability of energy, raw materials or transportation, or otherwise materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. In addition, to the extent that GHG restrictions are not imposed in countries where our competitors operate or are less stringent than regulations that may be imposed in the United States, Canada or the United Kingdom, our competitors may have cost or other competitive advantages over us.

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We may not be successful in the expansion of our business.
We routinely consider possible expansions of our business, both within the United States and elsewhere. Major investments in our business, including as a result of acquisitions, partnerships, joint ventures, business combination transactions or other major investments require significant managerial resources, the diversion of which from our other activities may impair the operation of our business. We may be unable to identify or successfully compete for certain acquisition targets, which may hinder or prevent us from acquiring a target or completing other transactions. The risks of any expansion of our business through investments, acquisitions, partnerships, joint ventures or business combination transactions are increased due to the significant capital and other resources that we may have to commit to any such expansion, which may not be recoverable if the expansion initiative to which they were devoted is ultimately not implemented. As a result of these and other factors, including general economic risk, we may not be able to realize our projected returns from any future acquisitions, partnerships, joint ventures, business combination transactions or other major investments. Among the risks associated with the pursuit and consummation of acquisitions, partnerships, joint ventures or other major investments or business combination transactions are those involving:
difficulties in integrating the parties’ operations, systems, technologies, products and personnel;
incurrence of significant transaction-related expenses;
potential integration or restructuring costs;
potential impairment charges related to the goodwill, intangible assets or other assets to which any such transaction relates, in the event that the economic benefits of such transaction prove to be less than anticipated;
other unanticipated costs associated with such transactions;
our ability to achieve operating and financial efficiencies, synergies and cost savings;
our ability to obtain the desired financial or strategic benefits from any such transaction;
the parties’ ability to retain key business relationships, including relationships with employees, customers, partners and suppliers;
potential loss of key personnel;
entry into markets or involvement with products with which we have limited current or prior experience or in which competitors may have stronger positions;
assumption of contingent liabilities, including litigation;
exposure to unanticipated liabilities;
differences in the parties’ internal control environments, which may require significant time and resources to resolve in conformity with applicable legal and accounting standards;
increased scope, geographic diversity and complexity of our operations;
the tax effects of any such transaction; and
the potential for costly and time-consuming litigation, including stockholder lawsuits.
International acquisitions, partnerships, joint ventures, business combinations or investments and other international expansions of our business involve additional risks and uncertainties, including, but not limited to:
the impact of particular economic, tax, currency, political, legal and regulatory risks associated with specific countries;
challenges caused by distance and by language and cultural differences;
difficulties and costs of complying with a wide variety of complex laws, treaties and regulations;
unexpected changes in regulatory environments;
political and economic instability, including the possibility for civil unrest;
nationalization of properties by foreign governments;
tax rates that may exceed those in the United States, and earnings that may be subject to withholding requirements;
the imposition of tariffs, exchange controls or other restrictions; and
the impact of currency exchange rate fluctuations.
If we finance acquisitions, partnerships, joint ventures, business combination transactions or other major investments by issuing equity or convertible or other debt securities or loans, our existing stockholders may be diluted or we could face constraints under the terms of, and as a result of the repayment and debt-service obligations under, the additional indebtedness. A business combination transaction between us and another company could result in our stockholders receiving cash or shares of another entity on terms that such stockholders may not consider desirable. Moreover, the regulatory approvals associated with a business combination may result in divestitures or other changes to our business, the effects of which are difficult to predict.

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Our operating results fluctuate due to seasonality. Our inability to predict future seasonal fertilizer demand accurately could result in our having excess inventory, potentially at costs in excess of market value, or product shortages.
The fertilizer business is seasonal. The degree of seasonality of our business can change significantly from year to year due to conditions in the agricultural industry and other factors. The strongest demand for our products in North America occurs during the spring planting season, with a second period of strong demand following the fall harvest. We and our customers generally build inventories during the low demand periods of the year to ensure timely product availability during the peak sales seasons. Seasonality is greatest for ammonia due to the short application season and the limited ability of our customers and their customers to store significant quantities of this product. The seasonality of fertilizer demand generally results in our sales volumes and net sales being the highest during the spring and our working capital requirements being the highest just prior to the start of the spring planting season.
If seasonal demand is less than we expect, we may be left with excess inventory that will have to be stored (in which case our results of operations will be negatively affected by any related increased storage costs) or liquidated (in which case the selling price may be below our production, procurement and storage costs). The risks associated with excess inventory and product shortages are exacerbated by the volatility of natural gas and nitrogen fertilizer prices and the relatively brief periods during which farmers can apply nitrogen fertilizers. If prices for our products rapidly decrease, we may be subject to inventory write-downs, adversely affecting our operating results. If seasonal demand is greater than we expect, we may experience product shortages, and customers of ours may turn to our competitors for products that they would otherwise have purchased from us.
A change in the volume of products that our customers purchase on a forward basis, or the percentage of our sales volume that is sold to our customers on a forward basis, could increase our exposure to fluctuations in our profit margins and materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
We offer our customers the opportunity to purchase products from us on a forward basis at prices and delivery dates we propose. Under our forward sales programs, customers generally make an initial cash down payment at the time of order and pay the remaining portion of the contract sales value in advance of the shipment date. Forward sales improve our liquidity due to the cash payments received from customers in advance of shipment of the product and allow us to improve our production scheduling and planning and the utilization of our manufacturing and distribution assets.
Any cash payments received in advance from customers in connection with forward sales are reflected on our consolidated balance sheets as a current liability until the related orders are shipped, which can take up to several months.
We believe the ability to purchase products on a forward basis is most appealing to our customers during periods of generally increasing prices for nitrogen fertilizers. Our customers may be less willing or even unwilling to purchase products on a forward basis during periods of generally decreasing or stable prices or during periods of relatively high fertilizer prices due to the expectation of lower prices in the future or limited capital resources. In periods of rising fertilizer prices, selling our nitrogen fertilizers on a forward basis may result in lower profit margins than if we had not sold fertilizer on a forward basis. Conversely, in periods of declining fertilizer prices, selling our nitrogen fertilizers on a forward basis may result in higher profit margins than if we had not sold fertilizer on a forward basis. In addition, fixing the selling prices of our products, often months in advance of their ultimate delivery to customers, typically causes our reported selling prices and margins to differ from spot market prices and margins available at the time of shipment.
Our business is subject to risks involving derivatives and the risk that our hedging activities might not prevent losses.
We often utilize natural gas derivatives to hedge our financial exposure to the price volatility of natural gas, the principal raw material used in the production of nitrogen-based products. We have used futures, financial swaps and option contracts traded in the over-the-counter markets or on exchanges. In order to manage our exposure to changes in foreign currency exchange rates, from time to time, we may use foreign currency derivatives, primarily forward exchange contracts.
Our use of derivatives can result in volatility in reported earnings due to the unrealized mark-to-market adjustments that occur from changes in the value of the derivatives that do not qualify for, or to which we do not apply, hedge accounting. To the extent that our derivative positions lose value, we may be required to post collateral with our counterparties, adversely affecting our liquidity.
We have also used fixed-price, physical purchase and sales contracts to hedge our exposure to natural gas price volatility. Hedging arrangements are imperfect and unhedged risks will always exist. In addition, our hedging activities may themselves give rise to various risks that could adversely affect us. For example, we are exposed to counterparty credit risk when our derivatives are in a net asset position. The counterparties to our derivatives are multi-national commercial banks, major financial institutions or large energy companies.

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Our liquidity could be negatively impacted by a counterparty default on settlement of one or more of our derivative financial instruments or by the trigger of any cross default provisions or credit support requirements. Additionally, the International Swaps and Derivative Association master netting arrangements for most of our derivative instruments contain credit-risk-related contingent features, such as cross default provisions and credit support requirements. In the event of certain defaults or a credit ratings downgrade, our counterparty may request early termination and net settlement of certain derivative trades or may require us to collateralize derivatives in a net liability position.
We are subject to risk associated with our strategic venture with CHS Inc.
We may not realize the full benefits from our strategic venture with CHS that are expected. The realization of the expected benefits of the CHS strategic venture depends on our ability to operate and manage the strategic venture successfully, and on the market prices of the nitrogen fertilizer products that are the subject of our supply agreement with CHS over the life of the agreement, among other factors. Additionally, any challenges related to the CHS strategic venture could harm our relationships with CHS or our other customers.
We are exposed to risks associated with our joint venture.
We have a 50% ownership interest in PLNL, which owns and operates an ammonia production facility in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. Our joint venture partner shares a measure of control over the operations of our PLNL joint venture. As a result, our investment in our PLNL joint venture involves risks that are different from the risks involved in owning facilities and operations independently. These risks include the possibility that our PLNL joint venture or our partner: have economic or business interests or goals that are or become inconsistent with our economic or business interests or goals; are in a position to take action contrary to (or have veto rights over) our instructions, requests, policies or objectives; subject our PLNL joint venture to liabilities exceeding those contemplated; take actions that reduce our return on investment; or take actions that harm our reputation or restrict our ability to run our business.
In addition, we may become involved in disputes with our PLNL joint venture partner, which could lead to impasses or situations that could harm the joint venture, which could reduce our revenues or increase our costs.
PLNL's ammonia plant relies on natural gas supplied, under a Gas Sales Contract (the NGC Contract), by the National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago Limited (NGC). The joint venture has experienced curtailments in the supply of natural gas from NGC, which have reduced the ammonia production at PLNL. The NGC Contract had an initial expiration date of September 2018 and has been extended on the same terms until September 2023. Any NGC commitment to supply gas beyond 2023 will need to be based on new agreements regarding volume and price. PLNL and NGC are currently parties to arbitration proceedings where the main issue remaining in dispute is PLNL's claims for damages from curtailments. Although the joint venture believes its claims against NGC to be meritorious, it is not possible to predict the outcome of the arbitration. There are significant assumptions in the future operations of the joint venture, beyond 2023, that are uncertain at this time, including the quantities of gas NGC will make available, the cost of such gas, the estimates that are used to determine the useful lives of fixed assets and the assumptions in the discounted cash flow models utilized for recoverability and impairment testing.
As part of our impairment assessment of our equity method investment in PLNL, we determined the carrying value exceeded the fair value and recognized a $134 million impairment charge in 2016. Previously, in 2015, we recognized an impairment charge of $62 million related to our equity method investment in PLNL. The carrying value of our equity method investment in PLNL at December 31, 2017 is $108 million. Failure to secure a long-term gas supply from NGC after 2023 on a cost effective basis could adversely affect our ability to produce ammonia at the joint venture and could result in further impairment to the value of the joint venture, such as ceasing operations and writing off the remaining investment in PLNL, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations.
Acts of terrorism and regulations to combat terrorism could negatively affect our business.
Like other companies with major industrial facilities, we may be targets of terrorist activities. Many of our plants and facilities store significant quantities of ammonia and other materials that can be dangerous if mishandled. Any damage to infrastructure facilities, such as electric generation, transmission and distribution facilities, or injury to employees, who could be direct targets or indirect casualties of an act of terrorism, may affect our operations. Any disruption of our ability to produce or distribute our products could result in a significant decrease in revenues and significant additional costs to replace, repair or insure our assets, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
Due to concerns related to terrorism or the potential use of certain fertilizers as explosives, we are subject to various security laws and regulations. In the United States, these security laws include the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002 and the Chemical Facilities Anti-Terrorism Standards regulation. In addition, President Obama issued in 2013 Executive

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Order 13650 Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security to improve chemical facility safety in coordination with owners and operators. Governmental entities could implement new or impose more stringent regulations affecting the security of our plants, terminals and warehouses or the transportation and use of fertilizers. These regulations could result in higher operating costs or limitations on the sale of our products and could result in significant unanticipated costs, lower revenues and reduced profit margins. We manufacture and sell certain nitrogen products that can be used as explosives. It is possible that governmental entities in the United States or elsewhere could impose additional limitations on the use, sale or distribution of nitrogen products, thereby limiting our ability to manufacture or sell those products, or that illicit use of our products could result in liability for us.
In October 2016, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released its new Chemical Security Assessment Tool (CSAT 2.0) surveys and enhanced risk tiering methodology. Facilities that had previously submitted a survey response to the DHS were notified to resubmit responses to online questionnaires to be evaluated through the revised and enhanced risk tiering methodology. In April 2017, the DHS began sending tiering determination letters to chemical facilities based on the new methodology. Depending on the risk classification resulting from the application of CSAT 2.0, our plants and terminals could be subject to more stringent stringent requirements related to chemical security.
We are subject to risks associated with international operations.
Our international business operations are subject to numerous risks and uncertainties, including difficulties and costs associated with complying with a wide variety of complex laws, treaties and regulations; unexpected changes in regulatory environments; currency fluctuations; tax rates that may exceed those in the United States; earnings that may be subject to withholding requirements; and the imposition of tariffs, exchange controls or other restrictions.
Our principal reporting currency is the U.S. dollar and our business operations and investments outside the United States increase our risk related to fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates. The main currencies to which we are exposed, besides the U.S. dollar, are the Canadian dollar, the British pound and the euro. These exposures may change over time as business practices evolve and economic conditions change, including, for example, in response to sudden global economic conditions resulting from measures like the referendum in the United Kingdom in June 2016, which resulted in a vote in favor of exiting the European Union (Brexit). We may selectively reduce some foreign currency exchange rate risk by, among other things, requiring contracted purchases of our products to be settled in, or indexed to, the U.S. dollar or a currency freely convertible into U.S. dollars, or hedging through foreign currency derivatives. These efforts, however, may not be effective and could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
We are subject to anti-corruption laws and regulations and economic sanctions programs in various jurisdictions, including the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977, the United Kingdom Bribery Act of 2010, the Canadian Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act, and economic sanctions programs administered by the United Nations, the European Union and the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, and regulations set forth under the Comprehensive Iran Accountability Divestment Act. As a result of doing business internationally, we are exposed to a risk of violating anti-corruption laws and sanctions regulations applicable in those countries where we, our partners or agents operate. Violations of anti-corruption and sanctions laws and regulations are punishable by civil penalties, including fines, denial of export privileges, injunctions, asset seizures, debarment from government contracts (and termination of existing contracts) and revocations or restrictions of licenses, as well as criminal fines and imprisonment. The violation of applicable laws by our employees, consultants, agents or partners could subject us to penalties and could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
We are subject to antitrust and competition laws in various countries throughout the world. We cannot predict how these laws or their interpretation, administration and enforcement will change over time. Changes in antitrust laws globally, or in their interpretation, administration or enforcement, may limit our existing or future operations and growth.
Deterioration of global market and economic conditions could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
A slowdown of, or persistent weakness in, economic activity caused by a deterioration of global market and economic conditions could adversely affect our business in the following ways, among others: conditions in the credit markets could affect the ability of our customers and their customers to obtain sufficient credit to support their operations; the failure of our customers to fulfill their purchase obligations could result in increases in bad debts and impact our working capital; and the failure of certain key suppliers could increase our exposure to disruptions in supply or to financial losses. We also may experience declining demand and falling prices for some of our products due to our customers’ reluctance to replenish inventories. Changes in global economic conditions can arise suddenly and the full impact of such changes can be difficult to ascertain, resulting in anxiety among market participants that can persist for protracted periods. For example, concern and

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uncertainty over the potential impact of Brexit on the global economy has resulted in increased volatility in global financial markets. The overall impact of changes in global economic conditions on us is difficult to predict, and our business could be materially adversely impacted.
In addition, conditions in the international market for nitrogen products significantly influence our operating results. The international market for nitrogen products is influenced by such factors as currency exchange rates, including the relative value of the U.S. dollar and its impact upon the cost of importing of nitrogen products into the United States, foreign agricultural policies, the existence of, or changes in, import or foreign currency exchange barriers in certain foreign markets and the laws and policies of the markets in which we operate that affect foreign trade and investment.

FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENTS
From time to time, in this Annual Report on Form 10-K as well as in other written reports and oral statements, we make forward-looking statements that are not statements of historical fact and may involve a number of risks and uncertainties. These statements relate to analyses and other information that are based on forecasts of future results and estimates of amounts not yet determinable. These statements may also relate to our prospects, future developments and business strategies. We have used the words "anticipate," "believe," "could," "estimate," "expect," "intend," "may," "plan," "predict," "project," "will" or "would" and similar terms and phrases, including references to assumptions, to identify forward-looking statements in this document. These forward-looking statements are made based on currently available competitive, financial and economic data, our current expectations, estimates, forecasts and projections about the industries and markets in which we operate and management's beliefs and assumptions concerning future events affecting us. These statements are not guarantees of future performance and are subject to risks, uncertainties and factors relating to our operations and business environment, all of which are difficult to predict and many of which are beyond our control. Therefore, our actual results may differ materially from what is expressed in or implied by any forward-looking statements. We want to caution you not to place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements. We do not undertake any responsibility to release publicly any revisions to these forward-looking statements to take into account events or circumstances that occur after the date of this document. Additionally, we do not undertake any responsibility to provide updates regarding the occurrence of any unanticipated events which may cause actual results to differ from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements contained in this document.
Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from our expectations are disclosed under "Risk Factors" and elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Such factors include, among others:
the cyclical nature of our business and the agricultural sector;
the global commodity nature of our fertilizer products, the impact of global supply and demand on our selling prices, and the intense global competition from other fertilizer producers;
conditions in the U.S. and European agricultural industry;
the volatility of natural gas prices in North America and Europe;
difficulties in securing the supply and delivery of raw materials, increases in their costs or delays or interruptions in their delivery;
reliance on third party providers of transportation services and equipment;
the significant risks and hazards involved in producing and handling our products against which we may not be fully insured;
our ability to manage our indebtedness;
operating and financial restrictions imposed on us by the agreements governing our senior secured indebtedness;
risks associated with our incurrence of additional indebtedness;
our ability to maintain compliance with covenants under the agreements governing our indebtedness;
downgrades of our credit ratings;
risks associated with cyber security;
weather conditions;
risks associated with changes in tax laws and disagreements with taxing authorities;
our reliance on a limited number of key facilities;
potential liabilities and expenditures related to environmental, health and safety laws and regulations and permitting requirements;
future regulatory restrictions and requirements related to greenhouse gas emissions;
risks associated with expansions of our business, including unanticipated adverse consequences and the significant resources that could be required;
the seasonality of the fertilizer business;
the impact of changing market conditions on our forward sales programs;
risks involving derivatives and the effectiveness of our risk measurement and hedging activities;

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CF INDUSTRIES HOLDINGS, INC.




risks associated with the operation or management of the CHS strategic venture, risks and uncertainties relating to the market prices of the fertilizer products that are the subject of our supply agreement with CHS over the life of the supply agreement, and the risk that any challenges related to the CHS strategic venture will harm our other business relationships;
risks associated with our PLNL joint venture;
acts of terrorism and regulations to combat terrorism;
risks associated with international operations; and
deterioration of global market and economic conditions.
ITEM 1B.    UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS.
None.
ITEM 2.    PROPERTIES.
Information regarding our facilities and properties is included in Item 1. Business—Reportable Segments and Item 1. Business—Storage Facilities and Other Properties.
ITEM 3.    LEGAL PROCEEDINGS.
Litigation
West Fertilizer Co.
On April 17, 2013, there was a fire and explosion at the West Fertilizer Co. fertilizer storage and distribution facility in West, Texas. According to published reports, 15 people were killed and approximately 200 people were injured in the incident, and the fire and explosion damaged or destroyed a number of homes and buildings around the facility. Various subsidiaries of CF Industries Holdings, Inc. (the CF Entities) have been named as defendants along with other companies in lawsuits filed in 2013, 2014 and 2015 in the District Court of McLennan County, Texas by the City of West, individual residents of the County and other parties seeking recovery for damages allegedly sustained as a result of the explosion. The cases have been consolidated for discovery and pretrial proceedings in the District Court of McLennan County under the caption "In re: West Explosion Cases." The two-year statute of limitations expired on April 17, 2015. As of that date, over 400 plaintiffs had filed claims, including at least 9 entities, 325 individuals, and 80 insurance companies. Plaintiffs allege various theories of negligence, strict liability, and breach of warranty under Texas law. Although we do not own or operate the facility or directly sell our products to West Fertilizer Co., products that the CF Entities have manufactured and sold to others have been delivered to the facility and may have been stored at the West facility at the time of the incident.
The Court granted in part and denied in part the CF Entities' Motions for Summary Judgment in August 2015. Over one hundred sixty cases have been resolved pursuant to confidential settlements that have been or we expect will be fully funded by insurance. The remaining cases are in various stages of discovery and pre-trial proceedings. The next trial is expected to be scheduled for later in 2018. We believe we have strong legal and factual defenses and intend to continue defending the CF Entities vigorously in the pending lawsuits. The Company cannot provide a range of reasonably possible loss due to the lack of damages discovery for many of the remaining claims and the uncertain nature of this litigation, including uncertainties around the potential allocation of responsibility by a jury to other defendants or responsible third parties. The recognition of a potential loss in the future in the West Fertilizer Co. litigation could negatively affect our results in the period of recognition. However, based upon currently available information, including available insurance coverage, we do not believe that this litigation will have a material adverse effect on our consolidated financial position, results of operations or cash flows.
Yazoo City Clean Air Act
On February 10, 2016, CFN was orally informed by representatives of the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) of MDEQ’s intent to impose a civil penalty of an amount exceeding $100,000 for alleged violations of certain fuel firing rate limits in the Company’s Clean Air Act Title V Permit for the Yazoo City, Mississippi facility. Representatives of the Company attended an administrative conference with MDEQ in early July 2016 to discuss MDEQ’s findings and calculation of the proposed penalty. On July 20, 2017, the Company and MDEQ executed an Agreed Order with MDEQ that that requires the Company to pay $95,625 that fully and finally resolves the alleged permit limit exceedances at issue in this matter.

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Environmental
Florida Environmental Matters
On March 17, 2014, we completed the sale of our phosphate mining and manufacturing business, which was located in Florida, to Mosaic. Pursuant to the terms of the definitive agreement executed in October 2013 among CF Industries Holdings, Inc., CF Industries and Mosaic, Mosaic assumed the following environmental matters and we agreed to indemnify Mosaic with respect to losses arising out of the matters below, subject to a maximum indemnification cap and the other terms of the definitive agreement.
Clean Air Act Notice of Violation
We received a Notice of Violation (NOV) from the EPA by letter dated June 16, 2010, alleging that we violated the Prevention of Significant Deterioration Clean Air Act regulations relating to certain projects undertaken at the former Plant City, Florida facility's sulfuric acid plants. This NOV further alleges that the actions that are the basis for the alleged PSD violations also resulted in violations of Title V air operating permit regulations. Finally, the NOV alleges that we failed to comply with certain compliance dates established by hazardous air pollutant regulations for phosphoric acid manufacturing plants and phosphate fertilizer production plants. We had several meetings with the EPA with respect to this matter prior to our sale of the phosphate mining and manufacturing business in March 2014. We and Mosaic have separately had continued discussions with the EPA subsequent to our sale of the phosphate mining and manufacturing business with respect to this matter. We do not know at this time if this matter will be settled prior to initiation of formal legal action.
We cannot estimate the potential penalties, fines or other expenditures, if any, that may result from the Clean Air Act NOV and, therefore, we cannot determine if the ultimate outcome of this matter will have a material impact on our consolidated financial position, results of operations or cash flows.
EPCRA/CERCLA Notice of Violation
By letter dated July 6, 2010, the EPA issued a NOV to us alleging violations of Section 313 of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) in connection with the former Plant City facility. EPCRA requires annual reports to be submitted with respect to the use of certain toxic chemicals. The NOV also included an allegation that we violated Section 304 of EPCRA and Section 103 of CERCLA by failing to file a timely notification relating to the release of hydrogen fluoride above applicable reportable quantities. We do not know at this time if this matter will be settled prior to initiation of formal legal action.
We do not expect that penalties or fines, if any, that may arise out of the EPCRA/CERCLA matter will have a material impact on our consolidated financial position, results of operations or cash flows.
Other
CERCLA/Remediation Matters
For information on pending proceedings relating to environmental remediation matters, see Item 1. Business—Environmental, Health and Safety and Note 19—Contingencies to our consolidated financial statements included in Item 8 of this report.
ITEM 4.    MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES
Not applicable.

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CF INDUSTRIES HOLDINGS, INC.




PART II
ITEM 5.    MARKET FOR REGISTRANT'S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES.
Our common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange, Inc. (NYSE) under the symbol "CF". Quarterly high and low sales prices, as reported by the NYSE, are provided below:
 
Sales Prices
 
Dividends
per Share
2017
High
 
Low
 
First Quarter
$
37.17

 
$
28.35

 
$
0.30

Second Quarter
30.07

 
25.04

 
0.30

Third Quarter
36.51

 
27.27

 
0.30

Fourth Quarter
43.42

 
33.50

 
0.30


 
Sales Prices
 
Dividends
per Share
2016
High
 
Low
 
First Quarter
$
40.95

 
$
26.10

 
$
0.30

Second Quarter
35.84

 
23.15

 
0.30

Third Quarter
28.32

 
20.77

 
0.30

Fourth Quarter
32.61

 
22.00

 
0.30

As of February 15, 2018, there were 753 stockholders of record.
The following table sets forth stock repurchases for each of the three months of the quarter ended December 31, 2017.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Period
Total
Number
of Shares
(or Units)
Purchased
(1)
 
Average
Price Paid
per Share
(or Unit)
 
Cumulative Number of
Shares (or Units)
Purchased as Part of
Publicly Announced
Plans or Programs
 
Maximum Number (or
Approximate Dollar
Value) of Shares (or
Units) that May Yet Be
Purchased Under the
Plans or Programs
(in thousands)
October 1, 2017 - October 31, 2017

 
$

  

 
$

November 1, 2017 - November 30, 2017

 

 

 

December 1, 2017 - December 31, 2017
324

 
39.26

 

 

Total
324

 
$
39.26

 
 

 
 


(1) 
Represents shares withheld to pay for employee tax obligations upon the vesting of restricted stock units.


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CF INDUSTRIES HOLDINGS, INC.




ITEM 6.    SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA.
The following selected historical financial data as of December 31, 2017 and 2016 and for the years ended December 31, 2017, 2016 and 2015 have been derived from our audited consolidated financial statements and related notes included elsewhere in this document. The following selected historical financial data as of December 31, 2015, 2014 and 2013 and for the years ended December 31, 2014 and 2013 have been derived from our consolidated financial statements, which are not included in this document. The selected historical financial data should be read in conjunction with the information contained in Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations and Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data.
 
Year ended December 31,
 
2017
 
2016
 
2015(1)
 
2014(2)
 
2013
 
(in millions, except per share amounts)
Statement of Operations Data:
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Net sales
$
4,130

 
$
3,685

 
$
4,308

 
$
4,743

 
$
5,475

Cost of sales
3,700

 
2,845

 
2,761

 
2,965

 
2,955

Gross margin
430

 
840

 
1,547

 
1,778

 
2,520

Selling, general and administrative expenses
192

 
174

 
170

 
152

 
166

Transaction costs

 
179

 
57

 

 

Other operating—net
18

 
208

 
92

 
53

 
(16
)
Total other operating costs and expenses
210

 
561

 
319

 
205

 
150

Gain on sale of phosphate business

 

 

 
750

 

Equity in earnings (losses) of operating affiliates
9

 
(145
)
 
(35
)
 
43

 
42

Operating earnings
229

 
134

 
1,193

 
2,366

 
2,412

Interest expense—net
303

 
195

 
131

 
177

 
147

Loss on debt extinguishment
53

 
167

 

 

 

Other non-operating—net
(2
)
 
(2
)
 
4

 
2

 
55

(Loss) earnings before income taxes and equity in earnings of non-operating affiliates
(125
)
 
(226
)
 
1,058

 
2,187

 
2,210

Income tax (benefit) provision
(575
)
 
(68
)
 
396

 
773

 
687

Equity in earnings of non-operating affiliates—net of taxes

 

 
72

 
23

 
10

Net earnings (loss)
450

 
(158
)
 
734

 
1,437

 
1,533

Less: Net earnings attributable to noncontrolling interests
92

 
119

 
34

 
47

 
68

Net earnings (loss) attributable to common stockholders
$
358

 
$
(277
)
 
$
700

 
$
1,390

 
$
1,465

Cash dividends declared per common share
$
1.20

 
$
1.20

 
$
1.20

 
$
1.00

 
$
0.44

Share and per share data:
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Net earnings (loss) per share attributable to common stockholders:
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Basic
$
1.53

 
$
(1.19
)
 
$
2.97

 
$
5.43

 
$
4.97

Diluted
1.53

 
(1.19
)
 
2.96

 
5.42

 
4.95

Weighted-average common shares outstanding:
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Basic
233.5

 
233.1

 
235.3

 
255.9

 
294.4

Diluted
233.9

 
233.1

 
236.1

 
256.7

 
296.0

Other Financial Data:
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Depreciation, depletion and amortization
$
883

 
$
678

 
$
480

 
$
393

 
$
411

Capital expenditures
473

 
2,211

 
2,469

 
1,809

 
824


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CF INDUSTRIES HOLDINGS, INC.




 
 
December 31,
 
2017
 
2016
 
2015(1)
 
2014(2)
 
2013
 
(in millions)
Balance Sheet Data:
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Cash and cash equivalents
$
835

 
$
1,164

 
$
286

 
$
1,997

 
$
1,711

Total assets(3)
13,463

 
15,131

 
12,683

 
11,200

 
10,574

Customer advances
89

 
42

 
162

 
325

 
121

Total debt(3)
4,692

 
5,778

 
5,537

 
4,538

 
3,054

Total equity
6,684

 
6,492

 
4,387

 
4,572

 
5,438

_______________________________________________________________________________
(1) 
On July 31, 2015, we acquired the remaining 50% equity interest in CF Fertilisers UK not previously owned by us. CF Fertilisers UK is now wholly owned by us. The financial results of CF Fertilisers UK have been consolidated within our financial results since July 31, 2015. Prior to July 31, 2015, our initial 50% equity interest in CF Fertilisers UK was accounted for as an equity method investment and the financial results of this investment were included in equity in earnings of non-operating affiliates—net of taxes. See Note 7—Equity Method Investments for additional information.

(2) 
On March 17, 2014, we completed the sale of our phosphate mining and manufacturing business. The selected historical financial data above includes the results of the phosphate business through March 17, 2014, plus the continuing sales of the phosphate inventory in the distribution network after March 17, 2014. The remaining phosphate inventory was sold in the second quarter of 2014. The results of the phosphate mining and manufacturing business are not reported as discontinued operations in our consolidated statements of operations.
 
(3) 
Total debt and total assets have been retroactively restated for the years ended December 31, 2015, 2014 and 2013 to reflect our adoption during fiscal year 2016 of Accounting Standards Update 2015-03, Interest—Imputation of Interest: Simplifying the Presentation of Debt Issuance Costs, which resulted in the reclassification of deferred debt issuance costs from other assets to an offset of long-term debt on our consolidated balance sheets. See Note 11—Financing Agreements for additional information.



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CF INDUSTRIES HOLDINGS, INC.




ITEM 7.    MANAGEMENT'S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS.
    You should read the following discussion and analysis in conjunction with the consolidated financial statements and related notes included in Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data. All references to "CF Holdings," "we," "us," "our" and "the Company" refer to CF Industries Holdings, Inc. and its subsidiaries, except where the context makes clear that the reference is only to CF Industries Holdings, Inc. itself and not its subsidiaries. All references to "CF Industries" refer to CF Industries, Inc., a 100% owned subsidiary of CF Industries Holdings, Inc. References to tons refer to short-tons. Notes referenced in this discussion and analysis refer to the notes to consolidated financial statements that are found in Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary DataNotes to Consolidated Financial Statements. The following is an outline of the discussion and analysis included herein:
Overview of CF Holdings
Our Company
Industry Factors
Items Affecting Comparability of Results
Financial Executive Summary
Results of Consolidated Operations
Year Ended December 31, 2017 Compared to Year Ended December 31, 2016
Year Ended December 31, 2016 Compared to Year Ended December 31, 2015
Operating Results by Business Segment
Liquidity and Capital Resources
Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements
Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates
Recent Accounting Pronouncements
Overview of CF Holdings
Our Company
We are one of the largest manufacturers and distributors of nitrogen fertilizer products and other nitrogen products in the world. Our principal customers are cooperatives, independent fertilizer distributors, farmers and industrial users. Our principal nitrogen fertilizer products are ammonia, granular urea, urea ammonium nitrate solution (UAN) and ammonium nitrate (AN). Our other nitrogen products include diesel exhaust fluid (DEF), urea liquor, nitric acid and aqua ammonia, which are sold primarily to our industrial customers, and compound fertilizer products (NPKs), which are solid granular fertilizer products for which the nutrient content is a combination of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. We operate world-class nitrogen manufacturing complexes in Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States, and distribute plant nutrients through a system of terminals, warehouses, and associated transportation equipment located primarily in the Midwestern United States. We also export nitrogen fertilizer products from our Donaldsonville, Louisiana and Yazoo City, Mississippi manufacturing facilities, and our United Kingdom manufacturing facilities in Billingham and Ince.
Our principal assets include:
four U.S. nitrogen fertilizer manufacturing facilities, located in Donaldsonville, Louisiana (the largest nitrogen fertilizer complex in the world); Port Neal, Iowa; Yazoo City, Mississippi; and Woodward, Oklahoma. These facilities are owned by CF Industries Nitrogen, LLC (CFN), of which we own approximately 89% and CHS Inc. (CHS) owns the remainder. See Note 16—Noncontrolling Interests for additional information on our strategic venture with CHS;
an approximately 75.3% interest in Terra Nitrogen Company, L.P. (TNCLP), a publicly traded limited partnership of which we are the sole general partner and the majority limited partner and which, through its subsidiary Terra Nitrogen, Limited Partnership (TNLP), operates a nitrogen fertilizer manufacturing facility in Verdigris, Oklahoma;
two Canadian nitrogen fertilizer manufacturing facilities, located in Medicine Hat, Alberta (the largest nitrogen fertilizer complex in Canada) and Courtright, Ontario;
two United Kingdom nitrogen manufacturing complexes, located in Billingham and Ince;

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CF INDUSTRIES HOLDINGS, INC.




an extensive system of terminals and associated transportation equipment located primarily in the midwestern United States; and
a 50% interest in Point Lisas Nitrogen Limited (PLNL), an ammonia production joint venture located in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago that we account for under the equity method.
On February 7, 2018, we announced that Terra Nitrogen GP Inc. (TNGP), the sole general partner of TNCLP and an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of CF Holdings, elected to exercise its right to purchase all of the 4,612,562 publicly traded common units of TNCLP on April 2, 2018, for a cash purchase price of $84.033 per unit in accordance with the terms of TNCLP’s partnership agreement. The purchase price of $84.033 per unit was determined under the terms of TNCLP’s partnership agreement as the average of the daily closing prices per common unit for the 20 consecutive trading days beginning with January 5, 2018 and ending with February 2, 2018. The purchase price of all of the 4,612,562 publicly traded common units of TNCLP is approximately $390 million. We intend to fund the purchase with cash on hand. As of the April 2, 2018 purchase date, all rights of the holders of the units will terminate, with the exception of the right to receive payment of the purchase price. Upon completion of the purchase, we will own 100 percent of the general and limited partnership interests of TNCLP, and the common units representing limited partner interests will cease to be publicly traded or listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
Industry Factors
We operate in a highly competitive, global industry. Our operating results are influenced by a broad range of factors, including those outlined below.
Global Supply and Demand Factors
Our products are globally traded commodities and are subject to price competition. The customers for our products make their purchasing decisions principally on the basis of delivered price and, to a lesser extent, on customer service and product quality. The selling prices of our products fluctuate in response to global market conditions, changes in supply and demand and different cost factors.
Historically, global fertilizer demand has been driven primarily by population growth, gross domestic product growth, changes in dietary habits, planted acreage, and application rates, among other things. We expect these key variables to continue to have major impacts on long-term fertilizer demand for the foreseeable future. Short-term fertilizer demand growth may depend on global economic conditions, weather patterns, the level of global grain stocks relative to consumption, governmental regulations, including fertilizer subsidies or requirements mandating increased use of bio-fuels or industrial nitrogen products and farm sector income. Other geopolitical factors like temporary disruptions in fertilizer trade related to government intervention or changes in the buying/selling patterns of key exporting/consuming countries such as China, India, Russia and Brazil, among others, often play a major role in shaping near-term market fundamentals. The economics of nitrogen-based fertilizer manufacturing play a key role in decisions to increase or reduce production capacity. Supply of fertilizers is generally driven by available capacity and operating rates, raw material costs and availability, government policies and global trade. Raw materials are dependent on energy sources such as natural gas or coal; supply costs are affected by the supply of and demand for these commodities.
Over the last decade, strong demand, high capacity utilization and increasing operating margins as a result of higher global nitrogen fertilizer prices stimulated global investment in nitrogen production facilities, which resulted in an increase in global nitrogen fertilizer production capacity. As a result, global nitrogen fertilizer capacity increased faster than global nitrogen fertilizer demand, creating a surplus of global nitrogen capacity in the market, and leading to lower nitrogen fertilizer selling prices. In addition, global feedstock commodity prices declined, including coal and oil-linked gas, contributing to the lower nitrogen fertilizer prices.

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Global Trade in Fertilizer
In addition to the relationship between global supply and demand, profitability within a particular geographic region is determined by the supply/demand balance within that region. Regional supply and demand can be influenced significantly by factors affecting trade within regions. Some of these factors include the relative cost to produce and deliver product, relative currency values, the availability of credit and governmental trade policies. The development of additional natural gas reserves in North America over the last decade has decreased natural gas costs relative to the rest of the world, making North American nitrogen fertilizer producers more competitive. These lower natural gas costs contributed to announcements of several nitrogen fertilizer capacity expansion projects in North America, including our capacity expansion projects in Donaldsonville, Louisiana and Port Neal, Iowa, which were completed in December 2016. Changes in currency values may also alter our cost competitiveness relative to producers in other regions of the world.
Imports account for a significant portion of the nitrogen fertilizer consumed in North America. Producers of nitrogen-based fertilizers located in the Middle East, Ukraine, the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela, North Africa, Russia and China have been major exporters to North America.
Farmers' Economics
The demand for fertilizer is affected by the aggregate crop planting decisions and fertilizer application rate decisions of individual farmers. Individual farmers make planting decisions based largely on prospective profitability of a harvest, while the specific varieties and amounts of fertilizer they apply depend on factors like their current liquidity, soil conditions, weather patterns, crop prices and the types of crops planted.

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Items Affecting Comparability of Results
Tax Cuts and Jobs Act
On December 22, 2017, the U.S. government enacted the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (the "Tax Act" or "Tax Reform") which includes a number of changes to U.S. tax law that affect us. As a result of the Tax Act we recognized a $491 million income tax benefit, which has a significant impact on our 2017 financial results. This impact generally results from the following two major provisions:
Impact of Tax Rate Change on Deferred Tax Liabilities - The most significant impact of Tax Reform is the reduction of the U.S. statutory corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%. This change necessitates the revaluation of all of our U.S. deferred tax balances which resulted in an income tax benefit of $552 million that was recorded in 2017.
Transition Tax (Repatriation Tax) on Foreign Earnings and Profits - Tax Reform requires us to pay U.S. tax on our previously untaxed foreign earnings. Foreign earnings held in the form of cash and cash equivalents are taxed at a 15.5% rate, and the remaining earnings are taxed at an 8% rate. We intend to elect to pay the transition tax in installments over an eight-year period and have recognized a tax charge and liability of $57 million in 2017 for this item.
Nitrogen Fertilizer Selling Prices
A significant amount of new nitrogen production capacity came on line in 2016 and 2017, including an increase in production capacity located in North America, which has further increased supply. Additional production capacity is expected to come on line in 2018. As a result, we expect the lower priced environment to continue until global supply and demand become more balanced through a combination of continued demand growth and supply reductions as producers respond to lower realized margins by taking higher cost production facilities off line.
The U.S. Gulf is a major global fertilizer pricing point due to the volume of nitrogen fertilizer that trades there. Through most of 2016, nitrogen pricing at the U.S. Gulf declined, often trading below parity with other international pricing points due to continued imports from various exporting regions and delayed North American buyer interest as a result of greater global nitrogen supply availability. Seasonal decreases in agricultural demand combined with delayed customer purchasing activity resulted in multi-year lows in nitrogen fertilizer selling prices in the second half of 2016. Early in the first quarter of 2017, prices began to increase as the supply and demand balance tightened in anticipation of spring fertilizer demand for the planting and growing season. However, as the first quarter progressed, increased imports into North America increased fertilizer supply in the region, which pressured selling prices downward as the quarter ended. During the second quarter of 2017, excess supply through imports into the United States that occurred in the first quarter of 2017 continued in the second quarter, negatively impacting selling prices. During the third quarter of 2017, prices hit yearly lows and then selling prices for most nitrogen products increased throughout the quarter, ending higher than at the beginning of the quarter, driven by significantly lower Chinese exports, higher energy and production costs in parts of the world, a weaker U.S. dollar and strong global demand. During the fourth quarter of 2017, certain announced nitrogen industry capacity additions that were expected to occur, were delayed, and certain maintenance outages all led to a favorable supply demand balance and contributed to a rise in nitrogen pricing.
The significant price fluctuations we have experienced in 2017 are symptoms of a market in transition as new capacity comes on line and global trade flows adjust, and this transition is not complete. We expect the final set of North American capacity additions to come fully on line by mid-2018. Should imports of nitrogen products into North America continue at high rates, the oversupply in the region will continue, which could lead to lower prices, similar to those experienced in early 2017. New global nitrogen capacity additions coming on line after 2018 are expected to be lower than recent years, which will support the market transition or more balanced supply and demand.
The greater global nitrogen supply availability and resulting low nitrogen fertilizer selling prices significantly impacted our results. The average selling price for our products for 2017, 2016 and 2015 was $207 per ton, $217 per ton and $314 per ton, respectively. The decline in average selling prices from 2016 to 2017 reduced net sales by $293 million, while the decline in average selling prices from 2015 to 2016 reduced net sales by $1.4 billion. In addition to the direct impact of lower selling prices, during periods of declining prices, customers tend to delay purchasing fertilizer in anticipation of prices in the future being lower than current prices.

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CF INDUSTRIES HOLDINGS, INC.




During the years ended December 31, 2017, 2016 and 2015, certain significant items impacted our financial results. The following table and related discussion outline these significant items and how they impacted the comparability of our financial results during these periods. Positive amounts in the table below are costs or expenses incurred, while negative amounts are income recognized in the periods presented.
 
2017
 
2016
 
2015
 
Pre-Tax
After-Tax(1)
 
Pre-Tax
After-Tax(1)
 
Pre-Tax
After-Tax(1)
 
(in millions)
Impact of U.S. Tax Cuts and Jobs Act(2)
(491
)
(491
)
 


 


Depreciation and amortization(3)
883

558

 
678

426

 
480

301

Unrealized net mark-to-market loss (gain) on natural gas derivatives(4)
61

39

 
(260
)
(163
)
 
176

111

Loss (gain) on foreign currency transactions including intercompany loans(5)
2

1

 
93

93

 
(8
)

Equity method investment tax contingency accrual(6)
7

7

 


 


Strategic venture with CHS:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Noncontrolling interest(7)
73

73

 
93

93

 


Loss on embedded derivative liability(5)
4

3

 
23

14

 


Loss on debt extinguishment
53

33

 
167

105

 


Debt and revolver amendment fees(8)


 
18

11

 


Capacity expansion project expenses(5)


 
73

46

 
51

32

Start-up costs - Donaldsonville / Port Neal expansion plants(4)


 
52

32

 


Loss on foreign currency derivatives(5)


 


 
22

13

Transaction costs and termination of agreement with OCI:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Transaction costs


 
179

96

 
57

37

Financing costs related to bridge loan commitment fee(9)


 
28

18

 
6

4

Gain on remeasurement of CF Fertilisers UK investment(6)


 


 
(94
)
(94
)
Impairment of equity method investment in PLNL(6)


 
134

134

 
62

62

(Gain) loss on sale of equity method investments(10)
(14
)
(9
)
 


 
43

31

Total Impact of Significant Items
$
578

$
214

 
$
1,278

$
905

 
$
795

$
497

______________________________________________________________________________
(1) The tax impact is calculated utilizing a marginal effective rate of 36.8% in 2017 and 37.2% in both 2016 and 2015.
(2) Included in income tax benefit in our consolidated statements of operations.
(3) Included primarily in cost of sales and selling, general and administrative expenses in our consolidated statements of operations.
(4)    Included in cost of sales in our consolidated statements of operations.
(5) Included in other operating—net in our consolidated statements of operations.
(6) Included in equity in earnings (losses) of operating affiliates in our consolidated statements of operations.
(7) Included in net earnings attributable to noncontrolling interests in our consolidated statements of operations.
(8) Included primarily in interest expense in our consolidated statements of operations.  
(9) Included in interest expense in our consolidated statements of operations.
(10) Included in equity in earnings (losses) of operating affiliates (in 2017) and in equity in earnings of non-operating affiliates (in 2015) in our consolidated statements of operations.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The following describes the significant items that impacted the comparability of our financial results in 2017, 2016 and 2015. Descriptions of items below that refer to amounts in the table above, refer to the pre-tax amounts.

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CF INDUSTRIES HOLDINGS, INC.




Depreciation and amortization
Total depreciation and amortization expense recognized in 2017, 2016 and 2015 was $883 million, $678 million and $480 million, respectively. This increase in depreciation expense reflects the completion of our capacity expansion projects and placing in service all five of the new plants prior to the end of 2016. The capacity expansion projects were originally announced in 2012 and included the construction of new ammonia, urea, and UAN plants at our Donaldsonville, Louisiana complex and new ammonia and urea plants at our Port Neal, Iowa complex. These plants increased our overall production capacity by approximately 25%, improved our product mix flexibility at Donaldsonville, and improved our ability to serve upper-Midwest urea customers from our Port Neal location. The following table indicates the quarter in which each of the five expansion plants were placed in service.
Quarter placed in service
 
Expansion plant location
Q4 2015
 
Donaldsonville Urea
Q1 2016
 
Donaldsonville UAN
Q4 2016
 
Donaldsonville Ammonia
Q4 2016
 
Port Neal Ammonia and Urea
Depreciation expense pertaining to each of our capacity expansion plants commenced once the applicable plant was placed in service.
Unrealized net mark-to-market loss (gain) on natural gas derivatives
Natural gas is typically the largest and most volatile single component of the manufacturing cost for nitrogen-based products. We manage the risk of changes in natural gas prices through the use of derivative financial instruments. The derivatives that we use for this purpose are primarily natural gas fixed price swaps and natural gas options. We use natural gas derivatives as an economic hedge of natural gas price risk, but without the application of hedge accounting. This can result in volatility in reported earnings due to the unrealized mark-to-market adjustments that occur from changes in the value of the derivatives, which is reflected in cost of sales in our consolidated statements of operations. In 2017, 2016 and 2015, we recognized unrealized net mark-to-market losses (gains) on natural gas derivatives of $61 million, $(260) million and $176 million, respectively.
Loss (gain) on foreign currency transactions including intercompany loans
In 2017, 2016 and 2015, we recognized losses (gains) of $2 million, $93 million and $(8) million, respectively, from the impact of changes in foreign currency exchange rates on primarily British pound and Canadian dollar denominated intercompany loans that were not permanently invested.
Equity method investment tax contingency accrual
The Trinidad tax authority (the Board of Inland Revenue) has issued a tax assessment against our equity method investment in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, PLNL, related to a dispute over whether tax depreciation must be claimed during a tax holiday period that was granted to PLNL under the Trinidad Fiscal Incentives Act. The tax holiday was granted as an incentive to construct PLNL’s ammonia plant. Based on the facts and circumstances of this matter, PLNL recorded a tax contingency accrual, which reduced our equity in earnings of PLNL for 2017 by approximately $7 million reflecting our 50% ownership interest. In early 2018, PLNL settled this matter with the Board of Inland Revenue for the amounts accrued.
Strategic venture with CHS
We commenced a strategic venture with CHS on February 1, 2016, at which time CHS purchased a minority equity interest in CFN for $2.8 billion. CHS also began receiving deliveries pursuant to a supply agreement under which CHS has the right to purchase annually from CFN up to approximately 1.1 million tons of granular urea and 580,000 tons of UAN at market prices. As a result of its minority equity interest in CFN, CHS is entitled to semi-annual cash distributions from CFN. We are also entitled to semi-annual cash distributions from CFN. The amounts of distributions from CFN to us and CHS are based generally on the profitability of CFN and determined based on the volume of granular urea and UAN sold by CFN to us and CHS pursuant to supply agreements, less a formula driven amount based primarily on the cost of natural gas used to produce the granular urea and UAN, and adjusted for the allocation of items such as operational efficiencies and overhead amounts.
We began recognizing the noncontrolling interest pertaining to CHS’ ownership interest in CFN on February 1, 2016. During 2017 and 2016, we recognized earnings attributable to the noncontrolling interest in CFN of $73 million and

35

CF INDUSTRIES HOLDINGS, INC.




$93 million, respectively. See Note 16—Noncontrolling Interests for additional information regarding our strategic venture with CHS.
Under the terms of our strategic venture with CHS, if our credit rating as determined by two of three specified credit rating agencies is below certain levels, we are required to make a non-refundable yearly payment of $5 million to CHS. Since our credit ratings were below certain levels in 2016 and 2017, we made a payment of $5 million to CHS in each year. These payments will continue on a yearly basis until the earlier of the date that our credit rating is upgraded to or above certain levels by two of three specified credit rating agencies or February 1, 2026. This obligation is recognized on our consolidated balance sheets as an embedded derivative. During 2017 and 2016, included in other operatingnet in our consolidated statements of operations is a net loss of $4 million and $23 million, respectively.
Debt activity
On December 1, 2017, we redeemed all of the $800 million outstanding principal amount of the 6.875% senior notes due May 2018 (the 2018 Notes) in accordance with the optional redemption provisions provided in the indenture governing the 2018 Notes. The total aggregate redemption price was approximately $817 million. On December 26, 2017, we purchased approximately $300 million aggregate principal amount of the $800 million outstanding principal amount of the 7.125% senior notes due 2020 (the 2020 Notes) pursuant to a tender offer. The aggregate purchase price was approximately $331 million. As a result of the early redemption of the 2018 Notes and the purchase of the 2020 Notes, we recognized a loss on debt extinguishment of $53 million, primarily consisting of $48 million of total premiums paid for the early retirement of debt for the 2018 Notes and 2020 Notes.
In the fourth quarter of 2016, due to the uncertain duration of the prevailing low nitrogen fertilizer selling price environment and in order to provide liquidity and covenant flexibility for the future, we took certain steps with respect to the Revolving Credit Agreement and our senior notes due 2022, 2025 and 2027 (the Private Senior Notes). On November 21, 2016, we prepaid the $1.0 billion aggregate principal amount of the Private Senior Notes, and paid the related make-whole amount of approximately $170 million. We made the prepayment and make-whole payment using the proceeds from an offering of $1.25 billion aggregate principal amount of senior secured notes consisting of $500 million aggregate principal amount of senior secured notes due 2021 and $750 million aggregate principal amount of senior secured notes due 2026 (collectively referred to as the “Senior Secured Notes”). We recognized $167 million of the $170 million cash make-whole payment on the Private Senior Notes as a loss on debt extinguishment, with the $3 million remainder being a debt modification cost that is being amortized over the term of the Senior Secured Notes.
In connection with the completion of the offering of the Senior Secured Notes and the prepayment of the Private Senior Notes in November 2016, certain amendments to the Revolving Credit Agreement became effective. The amendments included, among other things, changes in and additions to the financial and other covenants and a reduction in the size of the facility from $1.5 billion to $750 million.
In conjunction with our debt restructuring, including amendments to the Revolving Credit Agreement, we recognized $18 million of debt issuance and amendment fees in 2016. See further discussion under "Liquidity and Capital Resources" below and Note 11—Financing Agreements for additional information.
Capacity expansion projects
Our capacity expansion projects were completed in the fourth quarter of 2016. Capacity expansion project expenses in 2016 and 2015 of $73 million and $51 million, respectively, are included in other operatingnet in our consolidated statements of operations and generally consisted of administrative costs and other project costs that did not qualify for capitalization.
Start-up costs of $52 million, which primarily relate to the cost of commencing production at the ammonia plants, were incurred in 2016 and are included in cost of sales in our consolidated statements of operations. Losses on foreign currency derivatives of $22 million in 2015 are included in other operatingnet in our consolidated statements of operations and relate to hedges of European euro denominated equipment purchased as part of the capacity expansion projects.

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CF INDUSTRIES HOLDINGS, INC.




Transaction costs and termination of agreement with OCI
On August 6, 2015, we entered into a definitive agreement (as amended, the Combination Agreement) to combine with the European, North American and global distribution businesses of OCI N.V. (OCI). On May 22, 2016, CF Holdings, OCI and the other parties to the Combination Agreement entered into a termination agreement (the Termination Agreement) under which the parties agreed to terminate the Combination Agreement by mutual written consent. Pursuant to the Termination Agreement, CF Holdings paid OCI a termination fee of $150 million. Under the Termination Agreement, the parties to the Combination Agreement also agreed to release each other from any and all claims, actions, obligations, liabilities, expenses and fees in connection with, arising out of or related to the Combination Agreement and all ancillary agreements contemplated thereby (other than the confidentiality agreement between CF Holdings and OCI) or the transactions contemplated therein or thereby.
In 2016, we incurred $179 million of transaction costs associated with the proposed combination with certain businesses of OCI and our strategic venture with CHS. This includes the $150 million termination fee paid to OCI in the second quarter of 2016, which is described above, and costs for various consulting and legal services. In 2015, we incurred $57 million of transaction costs associated with the proposed combination with certain businesses of OCI, our strategic venture with CHS, and the acquisition of the remaining 50% equity interest in CF Fertilisers UK not previously owned by us.
On September 18, 2015, in connection with our proposed combination with OCI, we entered into a senior unsecured 364-day Bridge Credit Agreement (as amended, the Bridge Credit Agreement). Upon the termination of the Combination Agreement on May 22, 2016, the lenders' commitment under the Bridge Credit Agreement terminated automatically and we recognized $28 million in bridge loan commitment fees. In 2015, we recognized $6 million of fees related to the initiation of the bridge loan.
CF Fertilisers UK acquisition
On July 31, 2015, we acquired the remaining 50% equity interest in CF Fertilisers UK Group Limited (formerly known as GrowHow UK Group Limited) (CF Fertilisers UK) not previously owned by us for total consideration of $570 million, and CF Fertilisers UK became a wholly owned subsidiary. Upon the acquisition, we recognized a $94 million gain on the remeasurement to fair value of our initial 50% equity investment in CF Fertilisers UK. CF Fertilisers UK Limited (formerly known as GrowHow UK Limited), a wholly owned subsidiary of CF Fertilisers UK, operates two nitrogen manufacturing complexes in the United Kingdom, in the cities of Ince and Billingham. This transaction increased our manufacturing capacity with the acquisition of CF Fertilisers UK’s nitrogen manufacturing complexes. The Ince complex is located in northwestern England and consists of an ammonia plant, three nitric acid plants, an AN plant and three NPK plants. The Billingham complex is located in the Teesside chemical area in northeastern England, and consists of an ammonia plant, three nitric acid plants, a carbon dioxide plant and an AN fertilizer plant.
Equity method investments
In the fourth quarter of 2017, we recognized a gain of $14 million related to the sale of our interest in a joint venture that owns a carbon dioxide liquefaction and purification facility. During 2015, we recognized a loss of $43 million related to the sale of our 50% investment in Keytrade AG and the sale of our 50% investment in an ammonia storage joint venture in Houston, Texas.
Our equity in earnings (losses) of operating affiliates for the years ended December 31, 2016 and 2015, includes an impairment charge of our equity method investment in PLNL of $134 million and $62 million, respectively. PLNL is our joint venture investment in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and operates an ammonia plant that relies on natural gas supplied by the National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago Limited (NGC) pursuant to a gas sales contract (the NGC Contract). PLNL had experienced curtailments in the supply of natural gas from NGC, which reduced the ammonia production at PLNL. See "Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates" below, for additional information.
See Note 7—Equity Method Investments for additional information regarding our equity method investments.


37

CF INDUSTRIES HOLDINGS, INC.




Financial Executive Summary
Net earnings (loss)
We reported net earnings attributable to common stockholders of $358 million in 2017 compared to a net loss of $277 million in 2016, or an increase in net earnings between the periods of $635 million. Tax Reform had a significant impact on our reported results in 2017 as we recognized $491 million of income in our tax provision related to the enactment of Tax Reform in the United States. Further information regarding the impact of Tax Reform can be found above under "Items Affecting Comparability of Results—Tax Cuts and Jobs Act." Diluted net earnings per share attributable to common stockholders was $1.53 in 2017 compared to diluted net loss per share attributable to common stockholders of $1.19 in 2016, or an increase of $2.72 per share. The impact of Tax Reform added $2.10 to diluted earnings per share in 2017. 
(Loss) earnings before income taxes
Earnings before income taxes increased by $101 million to a loss of $125 million in 2017 from a loss of $226 million in 2016. The increase in earnings before income taxes is due to a combination of the following three categories of items which are described below:
$617 million of charges that were recognized in 2016 that did not reoccur in 2017; partially offset by
$410 million reduction in gross margin from operations; and
$108 million increase in net interest expense.
Significant charges in 2016
In 2016, we recognized $617 million of certain significant charges from the following items:
Transaction costs of $179 million pertaining to our proposed combination with certain businesses of OCI (that was ultimately terminated in 2016) and costs associated with establishing our strategic venture with CHS.
An impairment charge of $134 million related to our investment in Point Lisas Nitrogen Limited.
We took actions in both 2016 and 2017 to make modifications to our outstanding debt in response to changes in market conditions.  Losses on debt extinguishments declined by $114 million as 2016 had losses of $167 million and 2017 had losses of $53 million
Other operating expenses declined by $190 million in 2017 from an expense of $208 million in 2016 to an expense of $18 million in 2017. Other operating expenses are primarily pertaining to losses on foreign currency exchange rate impacts of the British pound and Canadian dollar on certain intercompany loans, certain costs pertaining to our capacity expansion projects and fair value adjustments for a derivative related to our strategic venture with CHS.
Gross margin from operations in 2017
As discussed earlier in "Overview of CF Holdings—Industry Factors and Items Affecting Comparability of Results," our operating results continue to be impacted by a surplus of capacity in the nitrogen industry, which has impacted product selling prices. Industry pricing conditions in 2017 declined early in the year to multi-year lows as oversupply conditions persisted, but selling prices rose as the year ended when supply and demand conditions were more in balance due to delays in the start-up of certain new industry capacity and stronger demand in certain regions. Our results in 2017 also included the full impact of all of our new capacity expansion plants. As a result, we set both production and sales volume records in 2017.
Our gross margin declined by $410 million in 2017 to $430 million from $840 million in 2016. The following major factors contributed to the decline in gross margin:
a higher unrealized net mark-to-market loss on natural gas derivatives, which decreased gross margin by $321 million as 2017 included a $61 million loss and 2016 included a $260 million gain,
a decrease in average selling prices of 5%, which reduced gross margin by $293 million, including the impact of foreign currency exchange rates. In 2017, the average selling prices for ammonia, UAN and granular urea declined by 13%, 11%, and 3%, respectively, while the average selling price for AN increased by 10%,
an increase in physical natural gas costs in 2017, partially offset by the impact of natural gas derivatives that settled in the period, which decreased gross margin by $162 million as compared to 2016, and

38

CF INDUSTRIES HOLDINGS, INC.




the impact of an increase in depreciation and amortization, excluding the impact from higher sales volume, of $160 million in 2017 as compared to 2016 due primarily to the completion and start-up of our capacity expansion projects,
partially offset by an increase in sales volume of 18%, which increased gross margin by $275 million, primarily driven by an increase in sales volume for ammonia and granular urea of 43% and 21%, respectively,
targeted cost reduction initiatives and production efficiencies due to increased volume, and
start-up costs of $52 million in 2016 for the new ammonia plants at our Donaldsonville and Port Neal facilities.
Interest expensenet
Net interest expense increased by $108 million to $303 million in 2017 from $195 million in 2016. The increase is due primarily to a decrease in the amount of interest capitalized due to the completion of our capacity expansion projects in 2016.
Cash Position
Our cash and cash equivalents balance was $835 million at December 31, 2017, a decline of $329 million from $1.16 billion at December 31, 2016. During 2017, our cash balance was significantly impacted by the following events, which are further described in "Liquidity and Capital Resources" below.
Receipt of a federal tax refund of $815 million due to the carryback of certain tax losses primarily arising from our capacity expansion projects
Early redemption and purchase of $1.1 billion in aggregate principal amount of certain senior notes due in 2018 and 2020

39

CF INDUSTRIES HOLDINGS, INC.




Results of Consolidated Operations
The following table presents our consolidated results of operations and supplemental data:
 
Year ended December 31,
 
2017
 
2016
 
2015
 
2017 v. 2016
 
2016 v. 2015
 
(in millions, except as noted)
Net sales
$
4,130

 
$
3,685

 
$
4,308

 
$
445

 
12
 %
 
$
(623
)
 
(14
)%
Cost of sales (COS)
3,700

 
2,845

 
2,761

 
855

 
30
 %
 
84

 
3
 %
Gross margin
430

 
840

 
1,547

 
(410
)
 
(49
)%
 
(707
)
 
(46
)%
Gross margin percentage
10.4
%
 
22.8
%
 
35.9
%
 
(12.4
)%
 
 
 
(13.1
)%
 
 
Selling, general and administrative expenses
192

 
174

 
170

 
18

 
10
 %
 
4

 
2
 %
Transaction costs

 
179

 
57

 
(179
)
 
(100
)%
 
122

 
N/M

Other operating—net
18

 
208

 
92

 
(190
)
 
(91
)%
 
116

 
126
 %
Total other operating costs and expenses
210

 
561

 
319

 
(351
)
 
(63
)%
 
242

 
76
 %
Equity in earnings (losses) of operating affiliates
9

 
(145
)
 
(35
)
 
154

 
N/M

 
(110
)
 
N/M

Operating earnings
229

 
134

 
1,193

 
95

 
71
 %
 
(1,059
)
 
(89
)%
Interest expense—net
303

 
195

 
131

 
108

 
55
 %
 
64

 
49
 %
Loss on debt extinguishment
53

 
167

 

 
(114
)
 
(68
)%
 
167

 
N/M

Other non-operating—net
(2
)
 
(2
)
 
4

 

 
 %
 
(6
)
 
N/M

(Loss) earnings before income taxes and equity in earnings of non-operating affiliates
(125
)
 
(226
)
 
1,058

 
101

 
(45
)%
 
(1,284
)
 
N/M

Income tax (benefit) provision
(575
)
 
(68
)
 
396

 
(507
)
 
N/M

 
(464
)
 
N/M

Equity in earnings of non-operating affiliates—net of taxes

 

 
72

 

 
 %
 
(72
)
 
(100
)%
Net earnings (loss)
450

 
(158
)
 
734

 
608

 
N/M

 
(892
)
 
N/M

Less: Net earnings attributable to noncontrolling interests
92

 
119

 
34

 
(27
)
 
(23
)%
 
85

 
N/M

Net earnings (loss) attributable to common stockholders
$
358

 
$
(277
)
 
$
700

 
$
635

 
N/M

 
$
(977
)
 
N/M

Diluted net earnings (loss) per share attributable to common stockholders
$
1.53

 
$
(1.19
)
 
$
2.96

 
$
2.72

 
N/M

 
$
(4.15
)
 
N/M

Diluted weighted-average common shares outstanding          
233.9

 
233.1

 
236.1

 
0.8

 
 %
 
(3.0
)
 
(1
)%
Dividends declared per common share
$
1.20

 
$
1.20

 
$
1.20

 
$

 
 %
 
$

 
 %
Natural Gas Supplemental Data (per MMBtu)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Natural gas costs in COS(1)
$
3.33

 
$
2.61

 
$
3.00

 
$
0.72

 
28
 %
 
$
(0.39
)
 
(13
)%
Realized derivatives loss in COS(2)
0.07

 
0.46

 
0.28

 
(0.39
)
 
(85
)%
 
0.18

 
64
 %
Cost of natural gas in COS
$
3.40

 
$
3.07

 
$
3.28

 
$
0.33

 
11
 %
 
$
(0.21
)
 
(6
)%
Average daily market price of natural gas Henry Hub (Louisiana)
$
2.96

 
$
2.48

 
$
2.61

 
$
0.48

 
19
 %
 
$
(0.13
)
 
(5
)%
Average daily market price of natural gas National Balancing Point (UK)(3)
$
5.80

 
$
4.66

 
$
6.53

 
$
1.14

 
25
 %
 
$
(1.87
)
 
(29
)%
Unrealized net mark-to-market loss (gain) on natural gas derivatives
$
61

 
$
(260
)
 
$
176

 
$
321

 
N/M

 
$
(436
)
 
N/M

Depreciation and amortization
$
883

 
$
678

 
$
480

 
$
205

 
30
 %
 
$
198

 
41
 %
Capital expenditures
$
473

 
$
2,211

 
$
2,469

 
$
(1,738
)
 
(79
)%
 
$
(258
)
 
(10
)%
Sales volume by product tons (000s)
19,952

 
16,957

 
13,718

 
2,995

 
18
 %
 
3,239

 
24
 %
Production volume by product tons (000s):
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
   Ammonia(4)
10,295

 
8,307

 
7,673

 
1,988

 
24
 %
 
634

 
8
 %
Granular urea
4,451

 
3,368

 
2,520

 
1,083

 
32
 %
 
848

 
34
 %
UAN (32%)
6,914

 
6,698

 
5,888

 
216

 
3
 %
 
810

 
14
 %
 AN
2,127

 
1,845

 
1,283

 
282

 
15
 %
 
562

 
44
 %
______________________________________________________________________________
N/M—Not Meaningful
(1) 
Includes the cost of natural gas that is included in cost of sales during the period under the first-in, first-out inventory cost method.
(2) 
Includes realized gains and losses on natural gas derivatives settled during the period. Excludes unrealized mark-to-market gains and losses on natural gas derivatives.
(3) 
Amount represents average daily market price for the full year.
(4) 
Gross ammonia production, including amounts subsequently upgraded on-site into granular urea, UAN, or AN.

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CF INDUSTRIES HOLDINGS, INC.




Year Ended December 31, 2017 Compared to Year Ended December 31, 2016
Net Sales
Our net sales are derived primarily from the sale of nitrogen fertilizers and are determined by the quantities of fertilizers we sell and the selling prices we realize. The volumes, mix and selling prices we realize are determined to a great extent by a combination of global and regional supply and demand factors. Net sales also include shipping and handling costs that are billed to our customers. Sales incentives are reported as a reduction in net sales.
Our total net sales increased $445 million, or 12%, to $4.13 billion in 2017 compared to $3.69 billion in 2016 due to an 18% increase in sales volume, which increased net sales by $738 million, partially offset by a 5% decrease in average selling prices, which reduced net sales by $293 million.
Average selling prices were $207 per ton in 2017 compared to $217 per ton in 2016 due primarily to lower ammonia, UAN and granular urea average selling prices in 2017. Selling prices were negatively impacted by greater supply availability which continues to pressure selling prices globally. During the fourth quarter of 2017, certain announced nitrogen industry capacity additions that were expected to occur, were delayed, and certain maintenance outages all led to a favorable supply demand balance and contributed to a rise in nitrogen pricing.
The increase in total sales volume of 18% was due primarily to higher ammonia and granular urea sales volumes, driven by increased production from the completion of our capacity expansion projects in December 2016.
Cost of Sales
Our cost of sales includes manufacturing costs, purchased product costs, and distribution costs. Manufacturing costs, the most significant element of cost of sales, consist primarily of raw materials, realized and unrealized gains and losses on natural gas derivative instruments, maintenance, direct labor, depreciation and other plant overhead expenses. Purchased product costs primarily include the cost to purchase nitrogen fertilizers to augment or replace production at our facilities. Distribution costs include the cost of freight required to transport finished products from our plants to our distribution facilities and storage costs incurred prior to final shipment to customers.
Our cost of sales increased $855 million, or 30%, from 2016 to 2017. The increase in cost of sales was primarily due to the impact of higher sales volume, higher unrealized net mark-to-market losses on natural gas derivatives and higher realized natural gas costs, including the impact of realized derivatives, in addition to higher depreciation expense related to the completion of our capacity expansion projects and placing those assets into service. These increases to cost of sales were partially offset by targeted cost reduction initiatives, production efficiencies due to increased volume in 2017 and the absence of start-up costs of the new ammonia plant at our Donaldsonville facility and the new ammonia and urea plants at our Port Neal facility that occurred in 2016. The cost of sales per ton averaged $185 in 2017, a 10% increase from $168 per ton in 2016. Cost of sales includes a $61 million unrealized net mark-to-market loss in 2017 compared to a $260 million unrealized net mark-to-market gain in 2016. Additionally, realized natural gas costs, including the impact of realized derivatives, increased 11% from $3.07 per MMBtu in 2016 to $3.40 in 2017.
Selling, General and Administrative Expenses
Our selling, general and administrative expenses consist primarily of corporate office expenses such as salaries and other payroll-related costs for our executive, administrative, legal, financial and marketing functions, as well as certain taxes and insurance and other professional service fees, including those for corporate initiatives.
Selling, general and administrative expenses increased $18 million to $192 million in 2017 from $174 million in 2016. The increase was due primarily to the combination of certain corporate office initiatives and higher incentive compensation due to improvements in operating performance.
Transaction Costs
Transaction costs consist of various consulting and legal services associated with the proposed combination with certain businesses of OCI that was terminated on May 22, 2016; our strategic venture with CHS, which began on February 1, 2016; and our July 31, 2015 acquisition of the remaining 50% equity interest in CF Fertilisers UK not previously owned by us.
In 2016, we incurred $179 million of transaction costs, including the $150 million termination fee paid to OCI in the second quarter of 2016 as a result of the termination of the Combination Agreement and costs for various consulting and legal services.

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Other Operating—Net
Other operating—net includes administrative costs that do not relate directly to our central operations and costs associated with our capacity expansion projects. Costs included in "other costs" can include foreign exchange gains and losses, unrealized gains and losses on foreign currency derivatives, costs associated with our closed facilities, amounts recorded for environmental remediation for other areas of our business, litigation expenses and gains and losses on the disposal of fixed assets.
Other operating—net was $18 million of expense in 2017 compared to $208 million of expense in 2016. The decreased expense was due primarily to a $93 million loss in 2016 from the impact of changes in foreign currency exchange rates on primarily British pound and Canadian dollar denominated intercompany loans that were not permanently invested. Due to a restructuring of certain intercompany loans, we did not incur the same level of foreign exchange rate impacts in 2017. The decreased expense is also due to expansion project expenses in 2016 of $73 million, generally consisting of administrative and other project costs that did not qualify for capitalization, and a $23 million charge representing the net fair value adjustments to an embedded derivative related to our strategic venture with CHS. See Note 8—Fair Value Measurements for additional information.
Equity in Earnings (Losses) of Operating Affiliates
Equity in earnings (losses) of operating affiliates primarily consists of our 50% ownership interest in PLNL. We include our share of the net earnings from our equity method investment in PLNL as an element of earnings from operations because this investment provides additional production and is integrated with our other supply chain and sales activities. Our share of the net earnings includes the amortization of certain tangible and intangible assets identified as part of the application of purchase accounting at acquisition. In 2016, equity in earnings (losses) of operating affiliates also includes impairment of our equity method investment in PLNL.
Equity in earnings (losses) of operating affiliates was $9 million of earnings in 2017 compared to $145 million of losses in 2016. Earnings in 2017 includes a gain of $14 million related to the sale of our interest in a joint venture that owns a carbon dioxide liquefaction and purification facility. In the fourth quarter of 2016, we recognized a $134 million impairment of our equity method investment in PLNL. For additional information regarding the impairment of our equity method investment in PLNL, see "Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates," below, and Note 7—Equity Method Investments.
Interest Expense—Net
Our interest expense—net includes the interest expense on our long-term debt, amortization of the related fees required to execute financing agreements and annual fees pursuant to our Revolving Credit Agreement. Capitalized interest relating to the construction of major capital projects reduces interest expense as the interest is capitalized and amortized over the estimated useful lives of the facility along with all other construction costs. Our interest expense—net also includes interest income, which represents amounts earned on our cash, cash equivalents and investments.
Net interest expense increased by $108 million to $303 million in 2017 from $195 million in 2015. The $108 million increase was due primarily to a decrease in the amount of interest capitalized due to the completion of our capacity expansion projects. In 2016, capitalized interest was $166 million compared to $2 million in 2017. Net interest expense in 2016 also includes the amortization of capitalized bridge credit agreement fees of $28 million pertaining to the bridge loan for our proposed combination with certain businesses of OCI. Upon the termination of the proposed combination with OCI, the unamortized portion of these fees was expensed.
During 2016, due to the uncertain duration of the prevailing low nitrogen fertilizer selling price environment and in order to provide liquidity and covenant flexibility for the future, we modified the Revolving Credit Agreement by reducing its size from $2.0 billion to $750 million and modifying certain covenants and other terms. As a result of these changes, we recognized $16 million of debt amendment fees and accelerated amortization of loan fees in interest expense in 2016.
Loss on Debt Extinguishment
Loss on debt extinguishment of $53 million in 2017 primarily consists of premiums paid for the early retirement of debt for the 2018 Notes and 2020 Notes. Loss on debt extinguishment of $167 million in 2016 consists of the make-whole payment, which resulted from our November 21, 2016 prepayment of the $1.0 billion aggregate principal amount of Private Senior Notes. The loss on debt extinguishment of $167 million excludes $3 million (of the $170 million make-whole payment), which was accounted for as a modification and recognized on our consolidated balance sheet as deferred financing fees, a reduction of long-term debt, and is being amortized using the effective interest rate method over the term of the Senior Secured Notes.

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Income Tax (Benefit) Provision
Our income tax benefit for 2017 was $575 million on a pre-tax loss of $125 million, compared to an income tax benefit of $68 million on a pre-tax loss of $226 million in the prior year. The higher income tax benefit in 2017 is due primarily to the impact of the Tax Act, which resulted in an income tax benefit of $491 million recorded in the fourth quarter of 2017, reflecting our best estimate of the impact of the Tax Act.
The primary impact of the Tax Act is the revaluation of all of our U.S. deferred tax balances, as result of the reduction of the U.S. statutory corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%, which resulted in an income tax benefit of $552 million that was recorded in 2017. This income tax benefit was partially offset by a tax charge and liability of $57 million, which represents our best estimate of the transition tax, or repatriation tax, on foreign earnings and profits, as described above under "Items Affecting Comparability—Tax Cuts and Jobs Act."
In addition, in both years, our effective tax rate is impacted by earnings attributable to noncontrolling interests in CFN and TNCLP, as our consolidated income tax (benefit) provision does not include a tax provision on the earnings attributable to the noncontrolling interests. As a result, earnings attributable to the noncontrolling interests of $92 million and $119 million in 2017 and 2016, respectively, which are included in our pre-tax loss, impact the effective tax rate in both years. See Note 16—Noncontrolling Interests for additional information.
Due primarily to the $491 million income tax benefit from the Tax Act, we recognized a $575 million income tax benefit in 2017 on a pre-tax loss of $125 million. Our effective tax rate in 2017, exclusive of the tax benefit from the Tax Act and exclusive of the earnings attributable to the noncontrolling interests of $92 million from our pre-tax loss, results in an effective tax rate of 38.8%. Our effective tax rate in 2016, exclusive of the earnings attributable to the noncontrolling interests of $119 million from our pre-tax income, resulted in an effective tax rate of 19.6%. 
In the fourth quarter of 2016, we determined the carrying value of our equity method investment in PLNL exceeded fair value and recognized an impairment of our equity method investment in PLNL of $134 million, which is included in the equity in earnings of operating affiliates. Our 2016 income tax provision does not include a tax benefit for the impairment of our equity method investment as it will not give rise to a tax deduction, which reduced our 2016 effective tax rate.
Both 2017 and 2016 were impacted by additional discrete tax items. See Note 9—Income Taxes for additional information.
Net Earnings Attributable to Noncontrolling Interests
Net earnings attributable to noncontrolling interests includes the net earnings attributable to the 24.7% interest of the publicly-held common units of TNCLP. We own approximately 75.3% of TNCLP and outside investors own the remaining 24.7%. Net earnings attributable to noncontrolling interests also includes the net earnings attributable to the approximately 11% CHS minority equity interest in CFN, a subsidiary of CF Holdings, purchased for $2.8 billion on February 1, 2016.
Net earnings attributable to noncontrolling interests decreased $27 million in 2017 compared to 2016 due primarily to lower earnings from both CFN and TNCLP as both were impacted by lower average selling prices due to greater global nitrogen supply availability due to global capacity additions. The earnings of CFN were also impacted by higher natural gas prices and the impact of higher depreciation as a result of the completion of our capacity expansion projects and placing those assets into service.
Diluted Net Earnings (Loss) Per Share Attributable to Common Stockholders
Diluted net earnings (loss) per share attributable to common stockholders, including the impact of Tax Reform, increased $2.72 to earnings of $1.53 per share in 2017 from a loss of $1.19 per share in 2016. This increase is due primarily to the impact of Tax Reform partially offset by lower gross margin primarily driven by an increase in unrealized net mark-to-market losses on natural gas derivatives, the impact of lower selling prices due to greater global nitrogen supply availability, higher realize