Airgas Inc., the Radnor distributor of industrial and medical gases, will increase its quarterly cash dividend by 10 percent.
A statement on the board of directors' move to raise the dividend from 29 cents per share to 32 cents per share indicated the company continues to see record earnings and strong cash flow. Here's what Airgas founder and CEO Peter McCausland had to say:
Our continued confidence in Airgas’ long-term prospects and financial stability allows us to grow our dividend commensurate with earnings and cash flow while still funding our growth strategies.
Airgas joins a number of other local companies that have increased their quarterly dividends recently. Earlier this month, water utility Aqua America raised its dividend by a penny to 16.5 cents per share. In July, National Penn Bancshares hiked it to 3 cents per share from 1 cent. Also in July, oil pipeline and terminal operator Sunoco Logistics Partners boosted its dividend by 3 cents to $1.215 per share.
Among the largest U.S. companies as measured by the Standard & Poor's 500 index, those taking "positive actions" on dividends totaled 241 as of Aug. 23, while just three cut their payouts. Over the same period last year, 175 companies had raised their dividends and three had moved to reduce them, according to data collected by S&P.