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Financial Performance of Publicly-Traded Agribusinesses

Listed author(s):
  • Katchova, Ani L.
  • Enlow, Sierra J.

Agribusinesses represent a fundamental link in connecting farmers with retailers and consumers, yet little research has been done to examine the historical financial performance of these food processing firms. Our research examines how publicly-traded agribusinesses perform financially compared to all firms over the period from 1961 to 2011. We utilize several indicators of company success, including financial ratios and balance sheet/income statement items, to compare agribusiness firms to all firms in the market. We perform the analysis over time and also for companies with low-, median, and high-performance. We also perform DuPont analysis to compare return on equity components between agribusinesses and all firms. We find that agribusinesses outperform at the median the sample of all firms in terms financial ratios related to profitability, liquidity, and market ratios, but have slightly lower liquidity and debt ratios. The DuPont analysis shows that the higher return on equity for agribusinesses is mostly due to higher asset turnover ratios, indicating higher operating efficiency of agribusinesses. The strong financial performance of food manufacturing agribusinesses makes them valuable companies in an investment portfolio. Our study provides a basic overview of financial ratios used to examine the financial performance of publicly-traded agribusinesses. Our findings show that agribusinesses outperform all firms in terms of key financial indicators.

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Paper provided by University of Kentucky, Department of Agricultural Economics in its series Staff Papers with number 164518.

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Date of creation: 2013
Handle: RePEc:ags:ukysps:164518
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  1. Jensen, Michael C, 1986. "Agency Costs of Free Cash Flow, Corporate Finance, and Takeovers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(2), pages 323-329, May.
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  3. Benjamin M. Clark, 2012. "The role of an agribusiness index in a modern portfolio," Agricultural Finance Review, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 72(3), pages 362-380, November.
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  9. Cook, Michael L. & Chaddad, Fabio R., 2000. "Agroindustrialization of the global agrifood economy: bridging development economics and agribusiness research," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 23(3), pages 207-218, September.
  10. Zvi Lerman & Claudia Parliament, 1990. "Comparative performance of cooperatives and investor-owned firms in US food industries," Agribusiness, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 6(6), pages 527-540.
  11. Goldsmith, Arthur, 1985. "The private sector and rural development: Can agribusiness help the small farmer?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 13(10-11), pages 1125-1138.
  12. Schumacher, Sara K. & Boland, Michael A., 2003. "The Persistence Of Profitability In The Food And Agribusiness Sector," 2003 Annual meeting, July 27-30, Montreal, Canada 22124, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
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