An 111 Year Dividend Track Record - General Mills (GIS)

Few can argue with a track record as solid as that of General Mills (GIS). The company currently yields 3.07% in dividends.

Very few companies can claim to have not reduced their dividend in 111 years of operation. Even the traditional stalwarts tightened their purse strings when the financial crisis hit.
 
One such firm that can make the claim is packaged food manufacturing giant General Mills (GIS). Apart from 111 years of dividends there have been 10 stock splits including a two-for-one split in June 2010. This leaves the company trading on a historic price to earnings (PE) multiple of 15 times and a dividend yield of 3% - a healthy reward for the patient shareholder.
 
The company owns a number of highly recognizable brands including Pillsbury, Green Giant and Old El Paso.
 
Reporting first quarter results recently, management indicated that they felt the company was on track to deliver full year earnings in line with previous guidance. Continued growth in volume and net sales across the worldwide businesses coupled with consumer demand for established brands remained strong.
 
Net sales grew 1 percent to $3.53 billion while operating profit was off 2% to $749m. Dividends per share were up 16.7% year on year and the group was carrying cash and cash equivalents of $697m.
 
Net operating cash flow for the quarter $177m compared to $275m in the corresponding 2009 quarter.
 
The company said the global operating environment was improving and re-affirmed that theirs market were once again growing. The company reaffirmed its full-year fiscal 2011 earnings per share (EPS) guidance of $2.46 to $2.48 per share. This would represent growth of 7 - 8% from adjusted earnings per share of $2.30 in fiscal 2010.
 
General Mills (GIS) shares have traded marginally higher since the start of 2010. The share kicked off the year at $35.95 and is presently trading around $37.
 
For the traditional dividend investor, 2.7% yield may not look as tasty as some of the other food stocks, but it is very difficult to argue with a track record that spans 111 years.

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