Food prices were going up months before Putin launched his attack on Ukraine. The bitter conflict has dramatically exacerbated the problem, raising prices and concerns of world food shortages, explains Gordon Pape, international investing expert and editor of Internet Wealth Builder.

Russia and Ukraine are both major exporters of a wide range of basic foods. Now it appears these food exports will be reduced or cut off entirely.

Chicago-based Archer-Daniels-Midland (ADM) is one of the largest food-processing companies in the world. The variety of products it produces include flours and grains, beans and pulses, nuts, oils, proteins, starches, and sweetening solutions.

The company also makes products used in medical supplements and health foods, including ingredients used for cognitive, heart, digestive, and immune problems. ADM is also a major player in animal nutrition, chemicals, packaging, personal care, and renewable plastics.

ADM, which has operations in Ukraine, issued a press release saying it is committing more than $5 million to the country, including wheat for the Ukrainian flour milling industry. The company says it will work with Ukrainian farmers to purchase their crops and use its logistical expertise to import and distribute emergency food rations.

Its stock has moved higher as commodity prices have spiked in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The shares are up almost 24% so far this year.

The company recently reported its best year ever and the outlook for 2022 looks as good or better. Fourth quarter revenue came in at just over $23 billion compared to about $18 billion in the same period of 2020, an increase of 28%. For the full year, revenue was $85.2 billion, up 32.3% from $64.4 billion in 2020.

Adjusted net earnings for the fourth quarter were $850 million ($1.50 per share), up from $684 million ($1.21 per share) in the previous year. For the full year, adjusted earnings were $2.9 billion ($5.19 a share). In 2020, they were just over $2 billion ($3.59 a share.

The company increased its quarterly dividend by 8.1% to $0.40 a share ($1.60 a year) from $0.37 previously. Investors received the higher rate with the March 1 payment. The stock yields 1.9% at the new rate. The company hasn’t missed a dividend in 90 years.

ADM is a company that’s in the right place at the right time. The CEO says the company was experiencing great momentum going into 2022, and the increase in commodity prices works in its favor. The company is looking for earnings per share in the $6-$7 range this year. Action now: Buy.

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