Monsanto (MON) is one of the biggest agrichemical firms in the world, producing a portfolio of genetically modified crop seeds that's used to increase yields and stave off threats like insects. The firm also produces for the consumer market, selling products like RoundUp herbicide to homeowners looking to reign in their own gardens.
The firm has paid out a 30 cent dividend for the past three quarters, and looks in prime position to hike its payout in the next quarter.>>5 Rocket Stocks to Buy Monsanto's dominance in the agrichemical business has made the firm its fair share of enemies. Farmer advocacy groups object to Monsanto's heavy-handed litigation practices (namely for reusing MON's patent-protected seeds), and health advocacy groups object to genetically modified crops being sold in stores. Still, the benefits of Monsanto's products are tough for commercial farmers to argue with, so the firm has been able to maintain its foothold without much trouble. Some strategy missteps have impacted Monsanto's profitability, however. In 2012, with price cuts in place, expectations tempered, and agricultural commodity prices still looking attractive, Monsanto should be in a good position to earn its characteristically deep margins and generate plenty of cash. The firm has a debt-neutral balance sheet, which should afford plenty of room for dividend rate hikes this year. Third-quarter earnings on June 27 could be the next announcement for shareholders.
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