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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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