Heinz Ups Dividend 7%, Reports Q4 Results
The H.J. Heinz Company (NYSE:HNZ) declared a quarterly dividend of $0.48 per share this morning, a 6.7% improvement over the $0.45 paid each of the previous four quarters by the food giant. Heinz has given its shareholders a raise every year since adjusting its payout for spinoffs in 2003.
In a separate press release, the company also reported mixed fourth quarter results. Heinz posted adjusted earnings of $0.71 per share on $2.89 billion in revenue, falling short of the consensus profit view ($0.72 per share) while edging the average sales estimate ($2.87 billion). Looking ahead, the company expects to earn an adjusted $3.24 to $3.32 per share during its fiscal 2012, while analysts are currently projecting a bigger profit of $3.33 per share.
Shares of HNZ closed Wednesday’s session trading at $53.39, where they now feature a 3.60% dividend yield.
Heinz spun off a number of its brands in 2002, which resulted in a no-brainer dividend reduction in 2003 to better align its payout with earnings. The company has raised its payout every year since, improving its annual dividend total by an average of 7.30%.
Omnicare’s Second Big Dividend Boost in 10 Months
Omnicare, Inc. (NYSE:OCR) declared a quarterly dividend of $0.04 per share this morning, which represents a 23% increase over its previous three payouts and a 78% improvement over the dividend paid during the same period last year by the pharmaceutical services company.
The company also more than tripled its share repurchase authorization, tacking an additional $100 million onto its existing plan’s balance of roughly $46 million.
Shares of OCR closed Wednesday’s session trading at $31.26 per share, where they now feature a 0.51% dividend yield.
After holding its dividend flat for eleven years, Omnicare finally gave its shareholders a raise last August, boosting its payout by 44%. The company seems to have a newfound dedication to dividend growth, and should be able to keep the momentum rolling despite an obvious sales plateau. Analysts currently expect Omnicare’s revenue to decline slightly for a fifth consecutive year, but the company’s 6.8% forward payout ratio leaves plenty of wiggle room for dividend growth while it works to identify a fresh sales catalyst.
SEI Boosts Dividend for 16th Straight Year
SEI Investments Company (NASDAQ:SEIC) declared a semiannual dividend of $0.12 per share today, a 20% improvement over the $0.10 paid previously by the financial solutions company. This marks the 16th consecutive year SEI has given its shareholders a raise.
Shares of SEIC are currently trading at $22.87, where they now feature a 1.05% dividend yield.
SEI is a Class E Dividend Dynamo, having raised its annual dividend total every year since rebooting the payout back in 1995. The company has given its shareholders an average annual raise of 24.7% during the streak, achieving double-digit dividend growth every year but two (2006, 2009).
First PacTrust Bancorp Continues Dividend Recovery
First PacTrust Bancorp, Inc. (FPTB) declared a quarterly dividend of $0.11 per share this morning, a 4.8% improvement over its previous payout. This marks the third consecutive quarter the holding company for Pacific Trust Bank has given its shareholders a raise.
PacTrust slashed its quarterly payout by 73% (from $0.185 down to $0.05 per share) over the course of the first two quarters of 2009 in order to preserve capital. The company began down the road to dividend recovery at the end of last year when it doubled its payout to $0.10 per share, and has now offset 44% of the big reductions.
Shares of FPTB are currently trading at $14.97, where they now feature a 2.94% dividend yield.
Empire Understandably Suspends Dividend
The Empire District Electric Company (NYSE:EDE) has announced the suspension of its dividend for the remainder of 2011. The utility company is based in Joplin, MO, where one of the worst tornadoes in American history did most of its damage last week.
Empire, which serves 215,000 customers across Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas, estimates that 8,000 to 10,000 of its customers have suffered enough structural damage that they will not be ready for service in the foreseeable future.
The suspension will not affect the dividend declared by Empire on April 28. The company had paid a quarterly dividend of $0.32 per share for nearly 20 years without interruption, and plans to reinstate its payout at a quarterly rate of $0.25 per share at the beginning of next year. Empire says it expects to grow the dividend as the Joplin area recovers.
Shares of EDE have fallen as low as $18.01 (-19.60%) in early trading. Buyers at that level will be looking at a 5.55% yield-on-cost at the start of 2012, assuming the company hits its reinstatement target. Coincidentally (or perhaps not), the stock closed the last market day prior to the tornado trading at $23.07, where the pre-suspension dividend rate also produced a 5.55% yield.
Financial Institutions Ups Dividend by 20%
Financial Institutions, Inc. (NASDAQ:FISI) declared a quarterly dividend of $0.12 per share today, a 20% improvement over the $0.10 paid each of the last ten quarters by the holding company for Five Star Bank.
Shares of FISI closed Wednesday’s session trading at $15.50, where they now carry a 3.10% dividend yield.
This is the first dividend hike from the company since 2008. FInancial Institutions has given shareholders a healthy dose of dividend increases over the years (15 since 1999), but they’ve always managed to kill the momentum by cutting their payout. The company has slashed its dividend twice over the last decade, which is why its payout is now exactly where it was in June 2001.