“This action by our board recognizes General Mills’ strong, long-term equity-market performance, our current business momentum and our promising growth prospects,” said Ken Powell, chairman and chief executive officer. “It also reflects our commitment to maintaining a market price range for our shares that is attractive to individual investors.”
Since General Mills was incorporated in 1928, the company’s common stock has split seven previous times, most recently as a two-for-one split on Nov. 8, 1999. From a split-adjusted closing price of $41.69 on that date, shares of General Mills appreciated 71% to $71.16 as of April 30, 2010.
“General Mills’ categories and our leading brands have proven to be very resilient over time,” Mr. Powell said. “During the past decade, our company underwent a major transformation with the acquisition of Pillsbury, faced a sustained period of high input cost inflation and a global economic recession. Despite these challenges, we have delivered strong business performance and generated solid returns for our shareholders.”
General Mills said total return to its shareholders — through stock price appreciation and dividends — compounded at an 8% annualized rate between November 1999 and April 2010. This compared with an annualized return of less than 1% for the S&P 500.
In addition, General Mills’ annual cash dividend has grown to $1.92 in fiscal 2010 from $1.08 in fiscal 1999.