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Sanderson Farms, Inc. (SAFM - Snapshot Report) recently announced an increase of roughly 17.6% in its quarterly dividend rate. The move aimed to reward the shareholders has been approved by the company’s board of directors.

The new dividend rate has been fixed at 20 cents, an increase of 3 cents over the previous rate of 17 cents. Sanderson Farms' revised annual dividend rate now stands at 80 cents per share. The quarter rate will be paid on Oct 15, 2013 to shareholders of record as on Oct 1, 2013.

In the first nine months ended Jul 31, 2013, Sanderson Farms paid dividends totalling $7.8 million. The company follows a consistent policy of rewarding its shareholders through quarterly dividend payments, garnished at regular intervals.  

In addition, Sanderson Farms announced to have received its board of directors’ approval to start construction of a new poultry complex from Oct 1 in Palestine, Texas. The new complex will have the processing capacity for 1.250 million heads of chicken per week and will include a feed mill, hatchery, poultry processing plant and waste water facility.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Sanderson Farms currently stands at $6.04 for the fiscal year 2013 ending Oct 2013, reflecting an increase of 156.9% year over year. Earnings estimate for fiscal 2014 is at $7.14, up 18.3% year over year.

Sanderson Farms is a fully integrated poultry processing company, primarily engaged in the production, processing, marketing and distribution of fresh and frozen chicken products. The company currently has a $1.5 billion market capitalization.

Other stocks to watch out for in the industry are Amira Nature Foods Ltd. (ANFI - Snapshot Report), with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) while Pilgrim's Pride Corporation (PPC - Snapshot Report) and Tyson Foods, Inc. (TSN - Analyst Report), each come with a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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