THOMASVILLE, GA. — Shares of Flowers Foods, Inc. will split three for two, the company said May 22. The Flowers board approved the 50% stock dividend as well as a cash dividend increase ahead of the company’s annual meeting.

Both the stock and cash dividends will be payable June 19 to shareholders of record June 5. The new cash dividend of 11.25c per share on the common stock represents a 5.5% increase from the previous quarterly rate, adjusted for the stock split.

George E. Deese, who became executive chairman of Flowers at the annual meeting, said the higher dividend reflects confidence in the company’s outlook.

“The board believes Flowers Foods is in an excellent position to reward our shareholders with an increased dividend, allowing our investors to continue participating in the company’s success over the long term,” he said. “In addition, the stock split will increase the liquidity of our stock and attract new shareholders.”

Allen L. Shiver, Flowers’ president and Mr. Deese’s successor as c.e.o., said the company’s operational and marketplace performance underpin the confidence.

“Our long-term strategy of investing in our bakeries, brands, products, and our team has created competitive advantages that are helping us deliver record results,” he said.

As of April 20, Flowers had 140,610,000 shares outstanding, which would equate to about 211 million shares, adjusted for the split. The stock dividend is the company’s sixth 3-for-2 split since the year 2000 and follows 50% stock dividends in 2011, 2007, 2005, 2003 and 2002.