UPS increases dividend
The increase is the company's fourth dividend boost in the past three years, pushing up the payout by 81% since February 2003. "UPS generates exceptional cash flow and has raised its dividend in nine of the last 10 years," said Mike Eskew, UPS chairman and CEO. "Moving forward, we are confident that the company will continue to produce consistent, strong growth." The voard's decision to increase the quarterly dividend follows a record performance by the company in 2005 with diluted earnings per share rising 18.4%, and predictions of a strong 2006 with total earnings per share expected to climb to an 11% to 16% range. The company also expects to continue generating substantial free cash flow in 2006.