The directors said this week that the regular quarterly cash dividend has risen from $0.12 to $0.14 cents per share on its common stocks, payable 21 January 2004, to shareholders of record on 31 December this year.
"McCormick's strong profit performance is generating excellent cash flow. With this cash, we are investing in programmes to grow our business and return a portion to shareholders through dividends and share repurchase, " said Robert J. Lawless, president of the spice company.
During the last 12 months, the company's dividend has increased by 27 per cent while the share price of McCormick's stock has increased more than 20 per cent, said the company this week. "We have consistently paid dividends since 1925 and believe they represent an important component of total shareholder return. We anticipate continued success and outstanding returns for our shareholders," added Lawless.
In September this year the spice giant posted an improved set of figures for the third quarter boosted by strong sales, acquisitions and better distribution.
Sales from continuing operations reached $558 million, a 17 per cent increase on the third quarter of 2002. Figures benefited from acquisitions in 2003 including Zatarain, manufacturer of dinner mixes, and in January this year, UK condiment business Uniqsauce, which together accounted for 8 per cent of the increase.