When selecting companies for your portfolio, an important consideration is to look at prior results and growth. For those investors focused on long-term growth, looking at growth over the years in conjunction with the company’s current plans for growth can often be an indicator of future performance.

Here are three companies that have not only outperformed the market, but have grown exceptionally well over the past decade and should continue to do so well into the future.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc. (TSX:VRX)(NYSE:VRX) is one of the largest specialty pharmaceutical and medical device companies in the world. The company is focused on development, manufacturing, licensing, and marketing of pharmaceuticals.

The company focuses primary on growth through acquisitions that can be integrated into Valeant’s vast distributor network. This strategy has worked exceptionally well over the years, with the stock becoming the best-performing stock on the TSX. Valeant currently trades at just over $214, and is up 28% year-to-date. While the stock may seem expensive, it is a bargain at the current price.

One of the more recent acquisitions was Sprout Pharmaceuticals, the company behind the drug Addy, otherwise known as the female Viagra. Valeant seized the opportunity and purchased the company for a reported $1 billion within days of the drug being FDA approved.

Long-term investors: The 10-year price on Valeant is up nearly 700%

Canadian National Railway Company

Canadian National Railway Company (TSX:CNR)(NYSE:CNI) is one of the largest railway companies in North America. It has a storied past and a prosperous future. The company hauls more than $250 billion of cargo across North America each year, and also has access to three ports in North America.

Rail freight is a particularly difficult market to enter as the planning, logistics, and sheer capital needed to build up a rail network are very prohibitive to any potential new competitors. This makes Canadian National all the more viable for investors to buy and hold.

Canadian National trades at $76.78, off the 52-week high of $78.13. Year-to-date, the stock is down by 4%, much like most of the market, making it an opportune time to buy. In terms of dividends, whereas many companies have chosen to slash or eliminate dividends, Canadian National has opted to increase its dividend. Earlier this year the company increased the dividend by 25% to $0.3125 per quarter.

In terms of growth, Canadian National is the exclusive railway operator for the Port of Prince Rupert, and is a primary gateway to Asia, particularly China. The company is now looking to replicate this success in Mobile, Alabama.

Long-term investors: The 10-year price on CN is up nearly 630%

Agrium Inc.

Agrium Inc.  (TSX:AGU)(NYSE:AGU) is the leading producer of agricultural products and services, focused on three crop nutrients: potash, nitrogen and phosphate. The company comprises the largest direct-to-grower distribution network in the world, including 17% of the U.S. retail market. Nearly one-third of that market serves smaller independent products.

Agrium currently trades just over $122. Year-to-date the stock is up nearly 12%, and over the past five years, the stock is up by nearly 40%. Agrium also pays out a quarterly dividend, which is currently set to US$0.875. The dividend has been raised over the years, and most recently earlier this year when the dividend rose by 12% effective in the July 2015 dividend.

The agricultural products that Agrium sells are primarily purchased in the fall when farmers have the income from harvest to stock up and prepare for the next year’s crop. This had traditionally led to the stock surging during the fall months, in some cases in excess of 10%

Long-term investors: The 10-year price on Agrium is up by over 400%.

Your instant five-stock portfolio

For a look at five top Canadian companies that won't let you down, click here now to download our special FREE report, "Stop Following Bad Advice. Buy These 5 Companies Instead!".


Let’s not beat around the bush – energy companies performed miserably in 2015. Yet, even though the carnage was widespread, not all energy-related businesses were equally affected.

We've identified an energy company we think offers one of the best growth opportunities around. While this company is largely tied to the production of natural gas, it doesn't actually produce the gas. Instead, it provides the equipment required to get natural gas from the ground to the end user. With diversified operations around the globe, we think it's a rare find in the industry.

We like it so much, we’ve named it as 1 Top Stock for 2016 and Beyond. To find out why, simply enter your email address below to claim your FREE copy of this brand new report, "1 Top Stock for 2016 and Beyond"!

Fool contributor Demetris Afxentiou has no position in any stocks mentioned. David Gardner owns shares of Canadian National Railway. Tom Gardner owns shares of Valeant Pharmaceuticals. The Motley Fool owns shares of Canadian National Railway and Valeant Pharmaceuticals. Agrium Inc. and Canadian National Railway are recommendations of Stock Advisor Canada.