General Mills has approved a two-for-one stock split, a move that will effectively double the amount of stock held by each shareholder.

The split will be delivered to shareholders of record on 28 May in the form of a stock dividend to be distributed on 8 June.

The Pillsbury-to-Cheerios maker said that the move, traditionally viewed by the market as a sign of expected growth, reflects the group's momentum.

"This action by our board recognizes General Mills' strong, long-term equity-market performance, our current business momentum, and our promising growth prospects," chairman and CEO Ken Powell said yesterday (3 May). "It also reflects our commitment to maintaining a market price range for our shares that is attractive to individual investors."

The company said that it last split its stock in 1999. Since then, General Mills' return to shareholders has averaged 8% a year, through dividends and stock appreciation.

General Mills shares closed slightly down yesterday, dipping from an open of US$71.58 to close at $71.47.