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DD) built a $34 billion annual chemical and materials business through innovation. The firm's labs have been the birthplace of technologies like Kevlar, Nomex, Tyvek, and Corian. More recently, though, DuPont has been carving out a lucrative niche in the agricultural chemical world, building up its genetically modified seed business and becoming one of the key suppliers of crop seeds in the world. That's helped to fuel double-digit margins in the bottom line and top-line numbers that have eclipsed pre-recession revenues in each of the last two years.
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DuPont's considerable diversification is one of its most attractive attributes. Because the firm earns its sales across a handful of disparate industries, it's able to smooth out the cyclical ups and downs that usually harangue chemical companies. The acquisition of Danisco in 2011 furthers that diversification by adding a mature food additives business to the mix. New R&D efforts at Danisco to produce biofuels and a new synthetic rubber could add important new business to DuPont's books as well.
Because DuPont is a big ship to turn around, changes to the firm's sales mix have been relatively slow. Even so, there's a lot to like about a management team that is willing to forego near-term success in favor of longer-term profits. Right now, DuPont pays out a 3.34% dividend yield, enough to round out the top five Dogs of the Dow.
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-- Written by Jonas Elmerraji in Baltimore.