Natural gas producer Williams Companies, Inc. (
) on Thursday posted better-than-expected fourth quarter earnings,
raised its dividend by 60%, and unveiled plans to split its
operations into two separate entities.
The Tulsa, OK-based company reported fourth quarter net income
of $174 million, or 29 cents per share, compared with $172 million,
or 29 cents per share, in the year-ago period. Excluding one-time
items, adjusted profit was 44 cents per share.
On average, Wall Street analysts expected a much smaller
adjusted profit of 28 cents per share.
The company also boosted its quarterly dividend payout by 60%,
to 20 cents per share. It also said it plans to raise its payout an
additional 10% to 15% by June 2012.
Looking ahead, the company forecast full-year 2011 profits to
range from $1.05 to $1.75 per share, while analysts expect $1.26
per share for the year.
Late Wednesday, WMB unveiled plans to spin off its natural gas
exploration and production business into a separate company, while
keeping its infrastructure and natural gas assets under the
Williams Companies shares rose $3.39, or +12.2%, in premarket
The Bottom Line
Shares of Williams Co. (
) will now have a 2.88% dividend yield, based on the higher
dividend payout and last night's closing stock price of $27.76. The
stock has technical support in the $26 price area. If the shares
can firm up, we see overhead resistance around the $35 price
Williams Companies, Inc. (
is not recommended at this time, holding a Dividend.com DARS™
Rating of 3.4 out of 5 stars.
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