The Ohio-based J.M. Smucker Co, a US market leader in fruit spreads, ice cream toppings, health and natural foods and beverages and peanut butter, has announced an increase in the quarterly dividend from US$0.16 to US$0.20 per common share.

Its board of directors said that the dividend is payable on 3 September 2002, to shareholders of record at the close of business on 20 August 2002.

Co-CEO Tim Smucker commented: "This 25% dividend increase reflects the strong momentum in our traditional businesses and our confidence in the future.

"We are excited about the growth opportunities in all of our brands including Smucker's, Jif, and Crisco. The integration of the new businesses is proceeding very well, with the systems transition virtually complete. Our preparation for the integration, with its focus on hitting the ground running, has enabled us to complete crucial transition activities well ahead of schedule."