At its annual meeting of shareholders, Wm. Wrigley said that the newly required expensing of stock options will impact Wrigley earnings by approximately 11 cents per share in 2006.

Addressing shareholders, Bill Wrigley, Jr, chairman of the board, president and CEO, said that the company believes increased investment spending on the new confectionery brands is necessary in order to accelerate top-line growth.

In June, the confectioner purchased Life Savers, Altoids and other brands from Kraft Foods for US$1.46bn.

The company expects the Kraft acquisition to be slightly dilutive to full-year 2006 results, but it is expected to show increased momentum in the latter part of 2006 and contribute positively to earnings in 2007.

“We believe we are on track with our long-term plan,” Wrigley, Jr., added “and we are confident in the potential of these great brands to grow and add value.”

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The company’s board also declared a five-for-four stock dividend. For every four common shares held at the close of business on 17 April, the company will issue one Class B share at the beginning of May.