Diversified energy company, ONEOK Inc.OKE recently announced a 1 cent (or 2%) hike in its quarterly cash dividend to 61.5 cents per share for the third quarter of 2015. The increased dividend will be paid on Nov 13, 2015, to shareholders of record as of Nov 2, 2015. The company's annual cash dividend now stands at $2.46 per share.
Taking into account the increased dividend, ONEOK Inc. now has a dividend yield of 6.7%, higher than the industry average of 4.6%.
Per the press release, the hike has been made possible by an equity investment of $650 million in ONEOK Partners along with reduction in commodity exposure and increase in earnings and distributable cash flow.
This marked the fifth increase in the dividend since ONEOK Inc. became a pure-play general partner of ONEOK Partners in Feb 2014. ONEOK Inc. continues to improve shareholder value through regular payment of dividends. In the first six months of 2015, the company paid dividends of $252.4 million, up 26.4% from the year-ago payout.
ONEOK maintains a sound liquidity and cash position giving it more flexibility and investment options. As of Jun 30, 2015, ONEOK had cash and cash equivalents of $226.2 million compared with $172.8 million as of Dec 31, 2014.
Tulsa, OK-based ONEOK currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in the utility-gas distribution industry are WGL Holdings Inc. WGL , sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and Southwest Gas Corp. SWX and Atmos Energy Corp. ATO , each carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).
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