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For those who may want a small-cap stock in this sector, China's
Yongye International(YONG) may be worth considering.
Yongye is a small fulvic-acid fertilizer producer with about $100 million in revenue in 2009.
The company is growing rapidly, feeding the soaring demand generated by new Chinese agriculture initiatives and new applications for its products.
Although created by the reverse-merger process, a Morningstar analyst says she investigated the company and gives it a four-star rating out of the firm's five-star scale.
The analyst, Min Tang-Varner, writes that "we expect Yongye to experience outsized growth for the next few years. Its revenue comes from two fulvic acid-based product lines: a general plant food line accounting for more than 90% of revenue and a dairy cow feed additive line accounting for less than 10% of revenue.
"With the new expansion, Yongye hopes to venture into grain-producing regions such as central and southern China while heavily promoting its animal feed product," she writes. "Vertical integration into lignite coal also offers better cost control over the long run. However, Yongye's business profile is risky."
Although it only has a market value of $353 million, Yongye has a lot of Wall Street interest as indicated by its 26% institutional investors' ownership. The largest investor is Knight Bridge Group at 6%. Vanguard holds 2.5% and Keane Capital, 1.6%.
Thomson Reuters says its review of analysts' ratings finds one "strong buy," three "buys," and one "hold." Those same analysts give it a 12-month price target of $14.70, about double its current price.
>To see these stocks in action, visit the
5 Agriculture Stocks That Analysts Love portfolio on Stockpickr.