There's nothing slow about H. J. Heinz Co. (HNZ). The maker of ketchup and Ore-Ida French fries grew profit by 7. 5 percent to $844.9 million for its last...

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There’s nothing slow about H.J. Heinz Co. (HNZ).

The maker of ketchup and Ore-Ida French fries grew profit by 7.5 percent to $844.9 million for its last fiscal year on overseas growth and average price increases of 3.3 percent.

It also boosted its dividend by nearly 10 percent to an annual $1.66. The shares recently traded at the highest level since 1999.

The food maker has come a long way since activist investor Nelson Peltz waged a proxy battle in 2006 amid listless stock performance. Peltz and another dissident investor won board seats, and Heinz subsequently boosted marketing spending by 15 percent in its last fiscal year.

This effort and its strong brands place Heinz “in the sweet spot of the industry,” says Deutsche Bank analyst Eric Katzman.

“A virtuous cycle seems to have taken hold,” he says.

Heinz will spend up to $100 million on marketing 400 new products over the next two fiscal years, many with lower salt, sugar and fat content.