US-based confectionery giant Hershey Foods has announced a quarterly dividend of $0.395 (€0.346) on the Common Stock, an increase of 20.6 per cent per share. In addition, the board declared a dividend of $0.3575 on the Class B Common Stock, an increase of 21.2 per cent per share.
"Given the company's strong free cash flow, excellent balance sheet, and the recent changes in federal tax laws, we've elected to increase our dividend payout ratio," said group chairman Richard Lenny.
"This increase reflects our confidence in Hershey's continued profitable growth, as well as the desire to enhance total returns for our stockholders."
The dividends are payable 15 September 2003.