US nuts and snackfoods group Diamond Foods has announced a 50% increase in its quarterly dividend.

The dividend, which rises to $0.045 a share, will be payable on 23 October to all common stockholders of record as of 12 October.

"We are pleased to be able to increase our dividend rate by 50%," said president and CEO Michael J. Mendes. "We believe that the company's ability to generate free cash flow while still investing to support our growth affords us the opportunity to provide a higher cash dividend to our shareholders."

Last week, Diamond reported a 10% rise in sales for the year to July 2007 to US$522.6m. The company is forecasting total revenues of between $530m and $550m for the current fiscal year, and EBITDA of $35.9m to $38.5m.