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Here’s why Lamb Weston’s news is good for the Mid-Columbia

Earlier this year, Lamb Weston announced a $250 million expansion of its french fry processing capacity in Hermiston.
Earlier this year, Lamb Weston announced a $250 million expansion of its french fry processing capacity in Hermiston. Idaho Statesman

Investing in the quiet giant of the Northwest frozen potato industry is paying off for shareholders.

Lamb Weston Holdings Inc. will pay a quarterly dividend of 19.1 cents per share on Aug 31, an increase over the 18.7 cents it paid in the same period of 2017.

Lamb Weston is among the largest buyers of Washington-grown potatoes.

It employs more than 4,500 people in the Mid-Columbia at its network of processing plants and warehouses as well a corporate office in Kennewick.

Potatoes are Washington’s third most valuable agricultural commodity, after apples and milk.

Growers planted 165,000 acres in 2017 for a crop value of nearly $900 million, according to USDA statistics.

Earlier this year, Lamb Weston announced a $250 million expansion of its french fry processing capacity in Hermiston.

Prior to that, it opened a $200 million new processing line in Richland, pushing its recent investments in the region to nearly half a billion dollars.

Dividends will be paid to shareholders on Aug. 3.

LambWeston01
Lamb Weston Holdings Inc. will pay a quarterly dividend of about 19 cents per share in August, the Idaho-based frozen potato giant announced Thursday. File Tri-City Herald

Eagle, Idaho-based Lamb Weston (NYSE: LW) announced the dividend Thursday, signaling that it will have profitable news when it releases its fourth quarter and full year 2018 earnings next Wednesday.

Lamb Weston spun off as an independent company from ConAgra Foods almost two years ago. It reliably paid dividends from the start.

It has paid a total of 56.6 cents per share for the first three quarters of its current fiscal year, compared to 18.7 cents in 2017, when it earned $327 million on nearly $3.2 billion in earnings.

Its shares were trading at $70.38 at the end of day Thursday, near the top of its 52-week range of $42.90 to $71.29.

Wendy Culverwell: 509-582-1514
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