Colgate-Palmolive declares 2-for-1 stock split, raises dividend 10 per cent

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Consumer product maker Colgate-Palmolive Co. said Thursday that its board approved a 2-for-1 stock split, its first one since 1999.

The maker of Colgate toothpaste and Palmolive dish soap also said it will raise its dividend 10 per cent.

Companies typically split their stock when they think the price of an individual share has gotten too expensive or if the stock is trading too far above similar companies’ stock. The value of each shareholder’s stake remains the same, with more stock owned at a lower price for each share.

The 2-for-1 split will occur via a stock dividend on April 23, with share distribution on May 15. The total number of shares outstanding will increase to 936 million from 468 million.

The regular quarterly dividend will be raised 6 cents to 68 cents, payable on May 15 to shareholders of record as of April 23. The new dividend will be $2.72 a year, or $1.36 after the stock split.

Colgate-Palmolive reported in January its fourth-quarter net income rose 1 per cent on higher prices and cost cuts. Consumer product makers have been raising prices and trimming costs to balance high costs for raw materials. Colgate is cutting 6 per cent of its staff by 2016 as part of a broader cost-cutting program.

Shares rose $1.85 to $117.20 in premarket trading. The stock is up 24 per cent in the past year.