Jun 26, 2012 • By

General Mills announces 8 percent dividend increase

Today, General Mills announced an 8 percent increase in our common stock dividend to a new annualized rate of $1.32 per share.

This becomes the ninth consecutive fiscal year that we’ve increased our dividend.

As a matter of fact, General Mills and its predecessor firm, the Washburn Crosby Company, have paid dividends without interruption or reduction for the past 113 years. That’s an impressive track record when you consider the many significant changes in our company over the past century.

For example, in fiscal 1995, we spun off Darden restaurants as a separate, free-standing company. That reduced the sales and profits of the new General Mills. But we kept the dividend rate the same, so our dividend payout was 80 percent of earnings that year.

During fiscal 2002, we acquired the Pillsbury Company, which doubled company sales. We paid for that acquisition in part by issuing millions of new shares. But despite that share increase, we maintained the prevailing dividend rate.

GIS stock has a long track record of outperforming the overall equity market’s total return to investors, due in part to our dividend payout and growth in dividends as our earnings have grown over time. Our dividend has increased at an 11 percent compound rate over the past five years.

Our current dividend yield is a little over 3 percent at recent share prices, while the S&P 500 yield is around 2 percent.

We believe our strong dividend performance says a lot about the inherent stability of our brands and our company.

We plan to build on our long-term record of solid dividends and shareholder returns in the years ahead.

Editor’s Note: You can learn more in a press release on GeneralMills.com.