Lab chemical and life sciences company Sigma-Aldrich Corporation (SIAL) has increased its quarterly dividend by 7% to 23 cents per share from the prior payout of 21.5 cents a share. The raised dividend is payable on Mar 14, 2014, to stockholders of record as of Feb 28, 2014. The Board of Sigma-Aldrich approved the increased on Feb 11, 2014.
Sigma-Aldrich released its fourth-quarter 2013 results on Feb 6. The company’s profit for fourth-quarter rose as it saw higher sales across its business segments, led by the Specialty Fine Chemicals (SAFC) Commercial unit.
The Mo.-based company’s reported profit went up 13% year over year in the fourth quarter to $131 million or $1.08 per share from $116 million or 96 cents per share a year ago. Barring tax benefits of $8 million, earnings were $1.02 per share in the quarter, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate by a penny.
Sales for the reported quarter rose roughly 4% year over year to a quarterly record of $684 million, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $675 million. Organic sales gain in the quarter was 6%, while foreign exchange translation had an unfavorable impact of 1%.
Moving ahead, Sigma-Aldrich envisions improving trends in several of its businesses and expects low-to-mid single-digit overall organic sales gain in 2014. It sees low-to-mid single digits gain in its Research Chemicals unit. Sales in Applied and SAFC Commercial divisions are expected to rise in mid-single digits and mid-to-high single digits, respectively.
Sigma-Aldrich carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
Other companies in the specialty chemicals space worth considering are Globe Specialty Metals, Inc. (GSM), International Flavors & Fragrances Inc. (IFF) and NewMarket Corp. (NEU), all of which carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).