ConAgra Foods is almost certainly the best known of the grain and milling companies that put Omaha on the food biz map, and although the headquarters is now gone after almost 100 years, it has been a good ride for investors. The stock of ConAgra — now moved to Chicago — has outperformed the Standard & Poor’s 500 in the past 30 years, with a compound annual growth rate of 11.1 percent versus 10.3 percent for the wider index.
In dollar terms, the results have been good enough to turn a one-share investment in 1973, when shares were first listed on the New York Stock Exchange, into a noteworthy sum. “Should one have been lucky enough — and we hope you were — to have purchased one share of ConAgra stock for $16.50 in 1973, that share, adjusted for dividend reinvestments and stock splits, would now equate to approximately 42.5 shares valued at approximately $2,032 based on the June 30, 2016, closing price of $47.81,” said Chris Kircher, the company’s vice president of corporate affairs.
The listing on the NYSE was followed shortly after by the tenure as CEO of Mike Harper, who took over in 1976 and transformed ConAgra from a cereal processor into a consumer foods company that eventually came to own grocery store icons such as Chef Boyardee and Hunt’s.