(MON) Monsanto Announces Dividend Increase

Monsanto Company (MON) declared an increase in the quarterly dividend from 28 cents per share to 30 cents per share of its common shares.

This is a part of the company’s continuing commitment to return value to shareholders and relate to the company’s fourth quarter of fiscal 2011. The dividend is payable on October 28, 2011 to shareowners of record as of October 7, 2011.

Moreover, Monsanto recently announced the appointment of Jon R. Moeller, the current CFO for Procter & Gamble Company (PG) to Monsanto’s Board, increasing the number of Directors to 11 from 10. He will be responsible for serving the Audit and Finance Committee and the Science and Technology Committee with Monsanto.

Of late, the company reported strong third-quarter revenue of $3,590 million, up 21% from the year-earlier quarter, driven by unit volume increase in the Seeds and Genomics and Agricultural Productivity segments. Additionally, the gross margin improved 70 basis points year over year attributed to mix and cost improvements.

Furthermore, the company restored its strong liquidity position reporting $944 million net cash by operating activities and a free cash flow of $237 million at the end of the third quarter of fiscal 2011. The company further anticipates free cash flows in the range of $1.1 billion to $1.3 billion for fiscal 2011.

Missouri-based Monsanto Company, together with its subsidiaries, is a leading global provider of agricultural products for farmers in the United States and internationally. Monsanto’s biotechnology research and rich product pipeline provides market leadership above its peers, such as Syngenta AG (SYT), The Scotts Miracle-Gro Co (SMG), The Dow Chemical Company (DOW), BASF SE (BASFY.PK).

We currently maintain a long-term Outperform recommendation on the stock. Monsanto has a Zacks #2 Rank, which translates into a short-term Buy rating (1-3 months).

DOW CHEMICAL (DOW): Free Stock Analysis Report

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SYNGENTA AG-ADR (SYT): Free Stock Analysis Report

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