Aqua Announces 9 Percent Cash Dividend Increase and Stock Split
Dividend increase will be the second in 9 months; twenty-third cash
dividend increase in 22 years
Seventh stock split in 17 years
BRYN MAWR, Pa.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--
The Aqua America (NYSE: WTR) Board of Directors has declared a 9 percent
increase to its quarterly cash dividend from the current quarterly
dividend rate of $0.175 per share to $0.19 per share for the September
1, 2013 dividend. The annualized dividend rate after this increase is
equivalent to $0.76 per share, or $0.06 more than its current annualized
dividend rate of $0.70 per share. Additionally, for the seventh time in
17 years, the Board approved a stock split to be effected in the form of
a 5-for-4 (25 percent) stock distribution.
Both the increased cash dividend and the subsequent stock distribution
will be effected on September 1, 2013 to shareholders of record on
August 16, 2013. The increased September 1, 2013 dividend will be
applied to the shares prior to the stock split. The equivalent quarterly
dividend rate after the stock split would be $0.152 per share on the
increased number of shares resulting from the stock distribution or
$0.608 per share on an annualized basis. The stock split will be
effected through a stock distribution of one share for each four shares
outstanding as of August 16, 2013.
"The Board of Directors takes its objective to increase shareholder
value very seriously and continues to feel strongly about the importance
of rewarding the company's shareholders through increasing dividends,
which have been paid without interruption for more than 65 years," said
Aqua America Chairman and CEO Nicholas DeBenedictis. "Due to the
significant increase in earnings in recent years, our dividend payout
ratio is now approximately 50 percent based on current earnings. The
company continues to target a long—term goal of a dividend payout ratio
of 60 to 70 percent."
The September 1 dividend increase occurs on an accelerated schedule —
one quarter sooner than the past several years, when Aqua America's
dividend increase occurred starting with the December 1 dividend
payment. This quarterly dividend of $0.19 per share represents a 15
percent increase over the $0.165 quarterly dividend paid on September 1,
2012. This is the 23rd cash dividend increase granted by the company in
the last 22 years. Over this time period the dividend has increased at a
6 percent compound annual growth rate.
DeBenedictis continued, "This significant dividend action by the Board
is reflective of their confidence in the future of the company. We look
forward to continuing to deliver above average total returns to our
shareholders through a combination of reinvesting capital in the
business and returning capital to our shareholders."
"Over the last 20 years through the leadership of the Board of
Directors, the company's net income and dividend payments to
shareholders have grown significantly, while the stock value of the
company has increased from $157 million to almost $4.5 billion today."
Previously on May 1, 2013, the Board of Directors declared a quarterly
cash dividend of $0.175 per share payable on June 1, 2013, to all
shareholders of record on May 17, 2013. The June dividend payment of
$0.175 per share is 6.1 percent higher than the dividend the company
paid in June 2012 of $0.165 per share.
Aqua America is one of the largest U.S.-based, publicly-traded water
utilities and serves almost 3 million residents in Pennsylvania, Ohio,
North Carolina, Illinois, Texas, New Jersey, Indiana, Virginia, Florida
and Georgia. Aqua America is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under
the ticker symbol WTR. Visit www.aquaamerica.com
for more information.
This release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of
the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including, among
others: the amount and date of the dividend increase and stock split;
the projected annualized dividend rate; the payout ratio targeted by the
company and Board of Directors; and the potential rate of the Company's
growth. There are important factors that could cause actual results to
differ materially from those expressed or implied by such
forward-looking statements including: general economic business
conditions; availability and the cost of capital; disruptions in the
credit markets; the success of growth initiatives; and other factors
discussed in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the period ending
December 31, 2012, which is on file with the SEC. We undertake no
obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement.
Aqua America, Inc.
Brian Dingerdissen, 610-645-1191
Source: Aqua America, Inc.
News Provided by Acquire Media