General Electric Raises Dividend for 4th Time in 2 Years

General Electric announced on Friday it is raising its quarterly shareholder dividend for the fourth time in less than two years as the conglomerate continues to show improved performance as it recovers from the global economic slump of 2008. The dividend was raised 13 percent from 15 cents a share to 17 cents, and will be paid on January 25th to shareholders of record on December 27th, the company noted in a statement. Shares of the company rose a little over 3 percent on the news.

Earlier this week, GE executives indicated that they expect the company’s 2011 revenue to be between $6.3 billion and $6.5 billion, indicating the company has returned to pre-recession performance. The company was actually forced to cut out its shareholder dividend in Debruary 2009 to conserve cash as the global recession and credit drought took its toll on the Fairfield, Connecticut-based conglomerate’s bottom line, particularly that of its finance arm.

At the end of the third quarter, GE had cash reserves of about $91 billion, and that was after the company spent $3.3 billion repurchasing stock from Berkshire Hathaway, sold to Warren Buffett’s company as markets froze in 2008. The Berkshire stake carried with it a 10 percent annual dividend, about $300 million in all, and GE said the redemption should boost the company’s earnings by about 3 cents a share moving forward.

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