Fortune Brands has revealed details of an increase in the dividend on its common stock. The company's board of directors said yesterday (26 July) that the dividend will increase by 12 cents to an annual rate of US$1.44 per share (payable 36 cents per quarter) from US$1.32 per share (33 cents per quarter).

The next quarterly dividend is payable on 1 September to shareholders of record at the close of business on 5 August.

"We're pleased that we've increased the dividend for the ninth year in a row since we began trading as Fortune Brands in 1997," said Fortune Brands chairman & CEO Norm Wesley. "In addition to our consistently strong operating performance, this dividend increase reflects the strength of our cash flow and balance sheet, even as we fund a US$5bn acquisition.

"Boosting the dividend is another tangible demonstration of how Fortune Brands uses its financial strength to drive shareholder value higher," Wesley added. "We're creating value with our major spirits and wine acquisition and the upcoming spin-off of our office products business, we're continuing to invest in the growth of our leading brands and we're also putting our financial strength to work for shareholders through an attractive dividend.

"Importantly, this action also underscores our confidence in Fortune Brands' future as we focus more sharply on our highest return consumer categories."

The company also declared a regular dividend of 66.75 cents per share on the US$2.67 Convertible Preferred Stock, payable in cash on 10 September to shareholders of record at the close of business on 5 August.