BLAIRTODAY – James Darin Boatman, 53, a former president of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 617 representing Conagra employees at the plant in Fort Madison, Iowa, was sentenced on Tuesday to two years in federal prison for embezzlement and theft.
Boatman had set up a credit card in the union’s name without authorization and used it for personal expenses, including vacations to Florida, large repairs on his personal vehicle, and attorney representation for a matter unrelated to union concerns. He also wrote checks from union funds to cover personal expenses and pay himself for unauthorized lost time, which he claimed was for union business. Boatman’s illicit activities took place from at least May 2017 until August 2019. He pleaded guilty to embezzlement and theft of labor union assets and agreed to pay $74,231.34 in restitution to the union.
Despite this scandal, Conagra Brands, Inc. has demonstrated resilience and continues to outperform expectations.
Insider Trading Activity
Over the past year, many Conagra Brands insiders have sold their stock. The largest sale was made by insider Robert Wise, who sold US$2.0 million worth of shares at about US$40.90 per share. Insiders sold more than they bought during this period, but still own 0.5% of the company’s shares, worth about US$80 million, indicating some alignment between management and smaller shareholders.
NorthRock Partners LLC, a US-based investment firm, purchased a new position in Conagra Brands, acquiring 6,734 shares during the fourth quarter with an estimated value of $261,000. Conagra Brands has also seen significant changes in institutional ownership, with firms like State Street Corp, First Trust Advisors LP, and Federated Hermes Inc. increasing their stakes in the company.
Dividend and Earnings Performance
Conagra Brands boasts a strong quarterly dividend payout with a payout ratio of 79.04%. The company will pay a dividend of $0.33 per share on June 1st to shareholders of record on April 28th. Additionally, the company announced impressive quarterly earnings data on April 5th, reporting an EPS of $0.76, beating analyst expectations by $0.12 USD.
UBS Group rated Conagra Brands’ stock as a “buy” with a price target of $44 per share, while Credit Suisse Group increased their price objective from $36.00 to $38.00.
While the conviction of the former union president may raise concerns about Conagra’s relationship with its workforce and potentially affect its reputation, the company’s financial performance remains robust. Conagra Brands continues to demonstrate resilience, making it an attractive investment option for both institutional investors and analysts. The company’s strong dividend payouts, positive earnings results, and favorable analyst ratings are all indicative of its potential for continued growth and success.
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