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Agria, AgFeed Rally on Volume Spike

BEIJING (TheStreet) -- Agriculture stocks Agria (GRO) and AgFeed Industries (FEED) rose Wednesday on above-average volume after Origin Agritech (FEED) completed a note repurchase and offered positive comments on its sales performance.

Origin Agritech said it repurchased a final tranche of convertible notes for $16.6 million in principal. Origin had issued the notes in June 2007 with an aggregate principal amount of $40 million. In July 2008 and January 2009, the company repurchased $23.4 million of those notes.

In a statement accompanying the details of the note repurchase, Origin Agritech CEO Liang Yuan said that the company "has never been in a stronger position strategically, technologically, and, most appropriately, financially, in this situation." Yuan said that current cash receipts from fiscal 2010's selling season are the highest in the company's history, and that will be evident on the first quarter balance sheet.

"We repaid our debt to eliminate any possible dilution and demonstrate our upcoming confidence in the near term future," Yuan added.

Origin Agritech shares jumped 23% to $11.91, dragging shares of Agria and AgFeed higher as well. Agria gained 19 cents, or 7%, to $2.92, as volume hit 268,000 shares at 11 a.m. EST, more than half the three-month daily average volume of 482,000 shares.

Similarly, AgFeed shares climbed 27 cents, or 5.8%, to $4.92. More than 1.18 million shares changed hands by 11 a.m. EST, nearly eclipsing the three-month average daily volume of 1.27 million shares.

Agria has a 20.3 million-share float with 67,000 shares short as of Dec. 15, according to Yahoo! Finance. Insiders hold 2.6% of the company's shares, with another 8.3% owned by institutions.

AgFeed has a 29.6 million-share float with a short interest float of 22% as of Dec. 15, according to Yahoo! Finance. Insiders hold 38% of the company's shares, with another 17% owned by institutions.

-- Written by Robert Holmes in Boston.

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