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Archer Daniels Midland

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Archer Daniels Midland (ADM)

Company Profile: Decatur, Ill.-based Archer Daniels Midland is a processor of oilseeds, corn, wheat, cocoa and other feedstuffs and is a manufacturer of vegetable oil and protein meal, corn sweeteners, flour, biodiesel, ethanol and other value-added food and feed ingredients.

Archer Daniels Midland raised its shareholder payout by a penny per share to 16 cents. It will pay the higher dividend on March 10 to shareholders of record on Feb. 17, marking 79 years of uninterrupted dividends. The higher dividend will bring Archer Daniels Midland's yield to around 1.8%.

Archer Daniels Midland easily topped quarterly expectations with record operating profits as net income surged 29.1%.

ADM booked quarterly profits of $732 million, or $1.14 per share, up significantly from year-earlier earnings of $567 million, or 88 cents per share. Adjusted for one-time gains related to its acquisition of Golden Peanut, earnings per share came in at $1.06. Net quarterly revenue came in 31.6% higher at $20.93 billion, beating expectations for the top-line figure to come in at $17.48 billion.

Corn processing profits jumped 38% to $399 million, attributed to favorable ethanol margins. In ADM's agricultural services unit, earnings nearly doubled to $426 million, thanks to record exportation volumes of grain and oilseeds while crop and transportation prices improved.

In February, analysts from Jefferies upgraded ADM to buy from hold, setting a $44 price target on the stock.

The equity research firm cited the move based on ADM's continuing ability to drive margin expansion.

Separately, several C-Level officers of ADM conducted insider trades in mid-February.

Vice president and controller John Stott sold nearly 16,000 shares for around $576,000, and exercised options for another near-13,000 shares. Dennis Riddle, president of ADM's corn sweeteners and starches, sold 5,000 shares for around $183,000. Vice Chairman John Rice sold a combined 126,000 shares for around $4.5 million, and exercised options for another 126,000 shares.

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