* Board to take up idea in second half
* Dividend or buyback ‘would be appropriate,’ CFO says
June 6 (Reuters) - Farm equipment maker Agco Corp is weighing whether to begin paying its shareholders a regular dividend, with the board likely to take the matter up later this year, a top executive said.
“We’re getting closer to the time where a share buyback or a dividend program would be appropriate,” Chief Financial Officer Andy Beck told an investor conference in New York on Tuesday after the close of trading. “We would expect to ... have a discussion about share repurchase, dividend opportunities or alternatives, more likely in the second half of the year.”
Like rivals Deere & Co and CNH Global, Duluth, Georgia-based Agco has been riding a wave of strong demand for farm equipment driven, by booming sales of commodity agricultural products.
Deere raised its quarterly dividend to 46 cents per share in February.
Analysts expect the company to notch 23 percent profit growth this year, on a 17 percent rise in sales, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Nonetheless, Agco shares have lagged those of its competitors. Over the past year, the stock is down 20 percent, a steeper slide than Deere’s 13 percent or the 7 percent decline of the Standard & Poor’s capital goods industry index.