In 1889 at the age of 25, Willoughby, like many great entrepreneurs, started his business in his home. He sold his products, including root beer, flavoring extracts, fruit syrups and juices, door-to-door. In 1903, Willoughby and his brother Roberdeau incorporated the company.
Most of the company's assets and records were destroyed in the Great Baltimore Fire of 1904. A new five-story building was erected on the same site within 10 months.
Willoughby's nephew Charles began working for the company in the summer of 1912 and was elected to the board of directors in 1925. Willoughby died on Nov. 4, 1932, and Charles was elected president and chairman of the board at age 36.
Through a series of acquisitions, the company grew. Ben-Hur Products was acquired in 1953, and Canada's Gorman Eckert & Co. Ltd. of London, Ontario, was acquired in 1959. Gilroy Foods became a wholly owned subsidiary in 1961. Other acquisitions included Baker Extract Co. in 1962, Cake Mate cake decorating in 1967, Childers Foods in 1968, and Tubed Products, an Easthampton, Mass., contract food packer and producer of plastic tubes, also in 1968.
The company that started in one room and a cellar, now has 7,500 employees and annual revenue of over $3.5 billion dollars. You may not of heard of the company, but the cook in your family will be very familiar with its products. Who is the company? It is...
McCormick & Company Inc. (MKC)
The company engages in the manufacture, marketing, and distribution of spices, seasoning mixes, condiments, and other flavorful products to retail outlets, food manufacturers and foodservice businesses. Nov. 27, the company increased its quarterly dividend 9.7% to $0.34 per share. The dividend is payable Jan. 14, 2013 to shareholders of record Dec. 31, 2012. This marks the 27th consecutive year that the company has increased its quarterly dividend. The yield based on the new payout is 2.1%.
Below are several other companies that have recently increased their cash dividends to shareholders:
Host Hotels & Resorts Inc. (HST) is a publicly owned real estate investment trust (REIT) that primarily engages in the ownership and operation of hotel properties. Nov. 29, the company increased its quarterly dividend 12.5% to $0.09 per share. The dividend is payable on Jan. 15, 2013 to stockholders of record on Dec. 31, 2012. The yield based on the new payout is 2.5%.
Financial Institutions (FISI) Inc. operates as the holding company for Five Star Bank that provides consumer and commercial banking, and financial services to individuals, municipalities and businesses in central and western New York. Nov. 28, the company increased its dividend 14% to $0.16 per share. The dividend is payable Jan. 2, 2013 to shareholders of record on Dec. 17, 2012. The yield based on the new payout is 3.5%.
OGE Energy Corp. (OGE) operates as an energy and energy services provider that offers physical delivery and related services for electricity and natural gas primarily in the south central U.S. Nov. 28, the company increased its quarterly dividend $0.4175 per share of stock. The dividend to be paid Jan. 30, 2013, to shareowners of record Jan. 10, 2013. The yield based on the new payout is 2.9%.
C&F Financial Corporation (CFFI) operates as the holding company for Citizens and Farmers Bank that provides various banking and related financial services to individuals and businesses. Nov. 28, the company increased its dividend 7.4% to $0.27 per share. The dividend is payable Dec. 21, 2012 to shareholders of record on Dec. 14, 2012. The yield based on the new payout is 3.1%.
R.G. Barry Corporation (DFZ) engages in designing, sourcing, marketing, and distributing footwear, foot and shoe care products, hand bags, tote bags and other travel accessories primarily in North America. Nov. 28, the company increased its quarterly dividend 12.8% to $0.09 per share. The dividend is payable on Dec. 28, 2012 to shareholders of record on Dec. 14, 2012. The yield based on the new payout is 2.5%.
Merck & Co. (MRK) Inc. provides various health solutions through its prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, animal health and consumer care products. Nov. 27, the company increased its quarterly dividend 2.4% to $0.43 per share. Payment will be made on Jan. 8, 2013, to shareholders of record at the close of business on Dec. 17, 2012. The yield based on the new payout is 3.9%.
BankUnited Inc. (BKU), a bank holding company, provides a range of banking products and financial services to commercial and middle-market businesses, as well as individual customers primarily in Florida. Nov. 26, the company increased its quarterly dividend 24% to $0.21 per share. The dividend is payable Dec. 27, 2012 to stockholders of record at the close of business on Dec. 13, 2012. The yield based on the new payout is 3.6%.
Selecting stocks with increasing dividends is critical for an income growth strategy. The above list contains stocks that recently raised their dividends; it is not a list of recommend buys. As always, due diligence should be performed before buying or selling any stock. For a list of stocks with a long string of consecutive cash dividend increases, see this list.
Full Disclosure: No position in the aforementioned securities. See a list of all my dividend growth holdings here.