International Flavors & Fragrances: Boring Stock, Great Investment

| About: International Flavors (IFF)

Here’s another entry in my continuing series: boring stocks but great investments. International Flavors & Fragrances (NYSE:IFF) is a $5 billion market cap company. It’s not in any of the major indexes but it’s been a strong performer over the years.

Here’s a company description from Hoovers:

If you’ve got a taste for the sweet and the salty, then International Flavors & Fragrances (IFF) is your kind of company. One of the world’s leading creators and manufacturers of artificial and natural aromas and flavors, IFF produces fragrances used in the manufacture of perfumes, cosmetics, soaps, and other personal care and household products. The company has about a 17% share of the world market and is among the top four companies in its industry. IFF sells its flavors principally to makers of prepared foods, dairy foods, beverages, confections, and pharmaceuticals. The company sells its fragrances and flavors in solid and liquid forms in amounts that range from a few pounds to several tons.

International Flavors & Fragrances soundly beat the market from the early 1980s to 1995. Then, in the late-1990s, IFF lagged the market.

The company had a 39-year run of raising its dividend every year, but that came to an end in 2000 when it slashed the dividend from 38 cents per share to 15 cents per share.

Perhaps this was a smart move. Since 2000, the stock has done very well. Measuring from October 25, 2000, IFF is up nearly 300% while the S&P 500 is down over 5%.

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