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Top Picks 2018: Compass Minerals International (CMP)

01/18/2018 5:00 am EST

Focus: COMMODITIES

John Dobosz

Editor, Forbes Premium Income Report and Forbes Dividend Investor

Overland Park, Kansas-based Compass Minerals International (CMP) produces salt and magnesium chloride for use in road deicing and dust control, food processing, water softeners, pool salt, and agricultural and industrial applications, explains John Dobosz, income expert and editor of Forbes Dividend Investor.

It mines for salt hundreds of feet below ground, using both drill-and-blast and continuous mining techniques, and its mine in Goderich, Ontario, is the largest rock salt mine in the world.

Revenue in 2017 is expected to climb 20.5% to $1.37 billion, with net operating cash flow rising 63% to $262.6 million, and $174.5 million in free cash flow.

Compass generated $11.75 in free cash flow per share over the past 12 months, well above the $2.88 it pays annually in dividends. The next ex-dividend date coming up for a payout of at least $0.72 per share rolls around in late February.

In addition to Compass trading at discounts to five-year averages on most measures of value, there is also some strong seasonality that makes Compass look attractive.

For the period between November and February, the stock has risen in every year except for two since Compass went public in December 2003. The company's chief financial officer in August purchased 300 shares at prices above $66 per share.

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