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The Board of Directors of Sigma-Aldrich Corporation (SIAL - Analyst Report) has approved a 7.5% increase in the company’s quarterly dividend to 21.5 cents per share from 20 cents. The revised dividend is payable on Mar 15, 2013, to shareholders of record as of Mar 1, 2013.

Separately, Sigma-Aldrich declared that it will make presentations at a couple of the investor conferences this month. The company will present at the Leerink Swann Global Healthcare Conference 2013 on Feb 14 and 2013 Citi Global Healthcare Conference on Feb 25 in New York City.

St. Louis, MO-based Sigma-Aldrich is a leading life sciences and high technology company. It develops, manufactures and distributes various biochemicals and organic chemicals. These chemical products and kits are used in scientific and genomic research, biotechnology, pharmaceutical development, diagnosis of diseases and chemical manufacturing. The company operates in 40 countries and offers 130,000 products.

Few days ago, the company released its fourth-quarter 2012 results. It posted adjusted earnings (excluding items) of 96 cents per share in the quarter, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 95 cents. Profit, as reported, rose roughly 7% year over year to $116 million driven by acquisitions and gains across international markets.

Revenues rose 7% year over year to $655 million in the quarter but lagged the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $660 million. Sigma-Aldrich registered healthy growth in its Fine Chemicals (SAFC) division in the quarter.

The acquisition of BioReliance and expansion initiatives in Asia Pacific and other high growth markets are expected to add to the company’s growth in 2013. However, its research business is expected to continue facing economic challenges due to uncertainties in the U.S. and Europe. Moreover, unfavorable currency exchange translation may continue to weigh on its revenues and earnings.

Sigma-Aldrich currently maintains a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Other companies in the specialty chemical space with favorable Zacks Rank are American Pacific Corporation , Novozymes A/S (NVZMY) and Penford Corporation (PENX - Snapshot Report). All of them hold a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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