Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Walgreens Raises Quarterly Dividend 22.2%

Walgreen Co. (WAG) operates a chain of drugstores in the United States. WAG has never been shy when it comes to increasing it dividend. It has provided double-digit increases every year since 2003. With a yield below 3%, the increases are  what attracted dividend growth investors. However, after today's increase, there may be a new class of investors looking at the stock.

On June 19th the company increased is quarterly dividend 22.2% to $0.27 cents per share. The dividend is payable Sept. 12, 2012, to shareholders of record Aug. 17, 2012. The increase raises the annual dividend rate $1.10 per share. The yield based on the new payout is 3.6%.

Walgreen's President and CEO Greg Wasson was quoted in the release saying, "We are increasing our dividend in line with our commitment to return cash to shareholders and consistent with our previously stated goal of a long-term dividend payout target of 30 to 35 percent of net earnings."

The company's stock dropped 5.85% Tuesday. The positive dividend news was not enough to offset in-line quarterly results with same-store sales dropping 6.6% due to the loss of Express Scripts (ESRX) business.

Even with this dividend increase, I am still not ready to buy. At least not until I fully understand the financial implications of the loss of its pharmacy benefit management contract with Express Scripts.

Full Disclosure: No position in the aforementioned securities. See a list of all my dividend growth holdings here.

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Tags: [WAG] [ESRX]