Wow, a Canadian financial company just raised their dividend!
It was the Dutch, 'SAVE YOUR MONEY' guy. Insurance firm, ING Canada (IIC), soon to become Intact Insurance Co. has increased it's dividend by 3.2% or 1 cent per share to $0.32/share. Their shares have been cut in half since April of 2006. Recently the dutch firm ING Group has sold it's 70% majority ownership in this company. This came on a day where US insurer Allstate (ALL), a very good past dividend grower, slashed it's dividend by more than half.
ING Canada, with an 11% market share, offers automobile, property and liability insurance to individuals and businesses through its insurance subsidiaries. It is the largest provider of property and casualty insurance in the country with more than $4 billion in direct written premiums.
According to ING Canada President and CEO, Charles Brindamour, "the decision to increase our quarterly dividend reflects our objective of returning value to shareholders. With today's announcement, we continue increasing our dividend on a yearly basis. The increase is also a reflection of the strength of our financial position, as well as the quality of our operating earnings." ING Canada reported earlier that at the end of the year2008, it had $427.5 million in excess capital, a minimum capital test ratio of 205% and no debt.
Albeit a small increase, it is very impressive for them to raise their pay out in this environment. ING Canada seems to have a focus on returning value to shareholders in the form of dividends. The stock now yields about 4.3%.