Participating on this call today are Peter Pfeiffer, President and Chief Executive Officer of AptarGroup; Steve Hagge, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer; and Bob Kuhn, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.I would now like to turn the conference over to Peter. Peter Pfeiffer Good morning, everyone. Before beginning our usual discussion regarding our operational results and outlook, I would like to take a moment to discuss the announcements in the press release regarding the increase of both our cash dividend rate and our share repurchase authorization as well as my decision to retire at the end of this year. First turning to the increases, the Board approved a 22% increase in the annual dividend rate from $0.72 per share to $0.88 per share, and the Board also approved a 4 million increase in our share repurchase authorization. Our cash generating ability and strong balance sheet allowed us to improve shareholder value with these actions. And at the same time, we remain well-positioned to take advantage of strategic opportunities in the future. On a personal note, my decision to retire at the end of the year was announced, as well as effective upon my retirement the appointment of Steve Hagge to succeed me as President and CEO. After more than 40 meaningful years of working for the company, I have decided to retire at the end of this year. I would like to point out that I am in good health and retiring now will allow me to spend more time with my family and to pursue other interests. I plan to continue my present role in the day-to-day management of the company through the end of the year and assist with the smooth transition. I plan on continuing to be associated to the company by serving as a Director.
I'm proud of my contribution to the development of our strong management team and the success of the recent realignment of our segments. I'm confident that AptarGroup will continue on the same successful cause in the future under Steve's leadership.Now I would like to briefly comment on our overall results and outlook and then discuss our Beauty & Home segment. Steve will follow me with the comments on Pharma and Food and Beverage segment, and then Bob will review our financials. Focusing on the quarter overall, positive momentum continued into the second quarter. And as result, we achieved all-time record high quarterly sales and earnings per share. Looking forward, we continue to be encouraged by the high level of new product activity across the board, largely due to the success from the recent realignment of our segments. We have had a strong first six-month start to the year, and we expect growth in the second half of this year to return to more normal levels. Bottomline, earnings per share for the third quarter of this year are projected to be in the range of $0.70 to $0.75 per share compared to a prior all-time quarterly high earnings of $0.68 per share posted in the third quarter of last year. Turning now to our Beauty & Home segment, compared to the prior year, reported sales of the second quarter increased 17%. Changes in exchange rate positively affected sales by 9%. Excluding currency changes, sales increased 18%. Excluding changes in exchange rates, sales to the personal care market increased 5%, sales to the fragrance/cosmetic market increased 15%, and sales to the household market increased 4%. Overall segment income in dollars increased as a percent of sales, negatively impacted by higher professional expenses and the delay in the pass-through of higher resin costs on Closures.
Turning to the products, we received the DuPont Gold Award for Packaging Innovation for our all-plastic airless dispenser called Eden. It is the first airless dispenser with certified recyclability because it's composed of only one family of plastic. Also, it's well-adapted for organic cosmetic because of the conformity of the materials and its protection for low-preservative formula.Gold Bond has introduced a new line of body lotions under the Sheer Ribbons name that uses compressed air with our Bag-on-Valve aerosol system to dispense ribbons of moisturizing formulas of body lotion. This represents a new application for Bag-on-Valve system. Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com