THOMASVILLE, Ga., Nov. 21, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The board of directors of Flowers Foods ( NYSE: FLO) today announced a $0.05 increase in the annual dividend rate, which raises the rate from $0.48 to $0.53 per share, a 10.4% increase. The dividend is paid quarterly at the new rate of $0.1325 per share and the next payment is on December 19, 2014 to shareholders of record on December 5, 2014.
The board reviews its dividend policy and considers the dividend rate each quarter, including at its annual meeting of shareholders. The previous dividend increase, which raised the annual dividend rate from $0.45 to $0.48 per share, was announced in May 2014 following the company's annual meeting of shareholders.
In other actions, the board increased the company's share repurchase authorization by 7.1 million shares. At the close of the company's third quarter on October 4, 2014, 7.9 million shares remained under the existing authorization. With the board's action today, the current authorization increases to 15.0 million shares, affording ample repurchase capacity as the company continues to execute its growth plan and maintain balance sheet discipline.
Allen L. Shiver, Flowers Foods' president and CEO, said today's actions reflect the board's confidence in Flowers Foods' long-term growth potential and its commitment to returning value to shareholders. "Our business continues to generate strong cash flow and our balance sheet allows us the flexibility to pursue value-enhancing actions, such as retiring debt, funding capital expenditures, promoting organic growth, making acquisitions and, most important, providing both current cash returns and long-term equity growth to our shareholders."
Shiver noted that since the spin-off of Flowers Foods in 2001, the company has returned more than $634 million to shareholders in dividends and invested $478 million to acquire the company's stock under the repurchase authorization. "The increased dividend and share repurchase authorization announced today indicate our ongoing commitment to a consistent capital allocation strategy that balances returning cash to shareholders and our strategy to fund the company's growth."
Looking to the future, Shiver said the board and the management team are confident that there are benefits still to be realized from the 2013 acquisition of the Hostess bread assets. Cash flow is expected to strengthen further as profit margins continue to improve over time.
Headquartered in Thomasville, Ga., Flowers Foods, Inc. ( NYSE: FLO) is one of the largest producers of fresh packaged bakery foods in the United States with annual sales of approximately $3.7 billion. Flowers operates bakeries across the country that produce a wide range of bakery products. Among the company's top brands are Nature's Own, Wonder, and Tastykake. Learn more at www.flowersfoods.com.
Statements contained in this press release that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements relate to current expectations regarding our future financial condition, performance and results of operations, planned capital expenditures, long-term objectives of management, supply and demand, pricing trends and market forces, and integration plans and expected benefits of transactions and are often identified by the use of words and phrases such as "anticipate," "believe," "continue," "could," "estimate," "expect," "intend," "may," "plan," "predict," "project," "should," "will," "would," "is likely to," "is expected to" or "will continue," or the negative of these terms or other comparable terminology. All forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ from those projected. Other factors that may cause actual results to differ from the forward-looking statements contained in this release and that may affect the company's prospects in general include, but are not limited to, (a) competitive conditions in the baked foods industry, including promotional and price competition, (b) changes in consumer demand for our products, including changes in consumer behavior, trends and preferences, including health and whole grain trends, and the movement toward more inexpensive store-branded products, (c) the success of productivity improvements and new product introductions, (d) a significant reduction in business with any of our major customers including a reduction from adverse developments in any of our customer's business, (e) fluctuations in commodity pricing, (f) energy and raw material costs and availability and hedging and counterparty risk, (g) our ability to fully integrate recent acquisitions into our business, (h) our ability to achieve cash flow from capital expenditures and acquisitions and the availability of new acquisitions that build shareholder value; (i) consolidation within the baking industry and related industries; and (j) the failure of our information technology systems to perform adequately, including any interruptions, intrusions or security breaches of such systems. The foregoing list of important factors does not include all such factors, nor necessarily present them in order of importance. In addition, you should consult other disclosures made by the company, including the risk factors included in our most recently filed Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") and disclosures made in other filings with the SEC and company press releases, for other factors that may cause actual results to differ materially from those projected by the company. We caution you not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements, as they speak only as of the date made and are inherently uncertain. The company undertakes no obligation to publicly revise or update such statements, except as required by law.
SOURCE Flowers Foods, Inc.