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Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM - Analyst Report) has increased its quarterly dividend by 8.6% to 19 cents per share from its earlier payout of 17.5 cents per share. As a result of this revision, the company’s annualized dividend stands at 76 cents per share.

The increased dividend, which is the 325th successive quarterly payout, will be paid on Mar 13, 2013, to stockholders of record as of Feb 20, 2013. The dividend yield based on the new payout and the last closing market price is approximately 2.5%.

Archer Daniels has been increasing dividend every year since 2002. Starting from 5 cents in 2000, the quarterly dividend payout has now increased nearly four times to the current level of 19 cents. The current dividend hike comes after 5 quarters. The last dividend hike of 1.5 cents or 9.4% from 16 cents was announced on Nov 15, 2011.

It is evident from the company’s history of dividend payment that it is always on the lookout for maximizing shareholders’ wealth.

The news of the dividend hike comes immediately after the company’s strong second quarter 2013 results that were reported earlier this week. Archer Daniels reported earnings of 60 cents per share, up 17.6% from the year-ago quarter and beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate by a penny. Net sales increased 6.9% year over year to $24,921 million, significantly above the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $21,957 million.

The outperformance was mainly attributable to improved performances at Oilseeds and Agricultural Services segments, partially offset by weak results at the company’s Corn Processing segment.

Cash and cash equivalents were $1,714 million as of Dec 31, 2012, up substantially from $864 million as of Dec 31, 2011. Long-term debt, excluding the current portion, amounted to $6,724 million as of Dec 31, 2012, compared with $8,364 million as of Dec 31, 2011. Shareholder’s equity as of Dec 31, 2012 was $19,131 million.

Other companies, which recently increased dividend, include Family Dollar Stores Inc. (FDO - Analyst Report), by 23.8% to 26 cents, The McGraw-Hill Companies Inc. by 9.8% to 28 cents, and BB&T Corporation (BBT - Analyst Report) by 15% to 23 cents.

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