McDonald's board of directors declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.55 per share of common stock payable on December 15 to shareholders of record at the close of business on December 1. This represents a 10 percent increase over the company's previous quarterly dividend rate and brings the total quarterly dividend payout to about $600 million.
"So far in 2009 we've returned nearly $4.0 billion to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases, bringing total cash returned since the beginning of 2007 to about $15.5 billion,” says McDonald's CEO Jim Skinner. “With today's dividend increase, we expect to end the year near the high end of our three-year, $15 billion to $17 billion total cash return target."
"This achievement reflects the success of our better, not just bigger strategy, which has helped drive sales, profits and, ultimately, cash from operations,” he says. “Going forward, our philosophy on our use of capital remains unchanged. Our first priority is to reinvest to grow our business and enhance shareholder value. After these investment opportunities, we expect to return all of our free cash flow over the long term through dividends and share repurchases—while maintaining a strong financial foundation. Today's dividend increase underscores our confidence in the long-term strength of our business and ongoing commitment to returning cash to shareholders."
McDonald's has raised its dividend every year since paying its first dividend in 1976. The new quarterly dividend of $0.55 per share is equivalent to $2.20 per share annually—quadruple the amount paid in 2004.