New York: UnitedHealth Group Inc said on Wednesday it is sharply increasing its dividend, after calls by some investors for the US health insurer to give more cash back to shareholders.
The company’s board approved a quarterly dividend of 12.5 cents per share to be paid on June 21 to shareholders of record as of June 7. Most recently, the largest US health insurer by market value paid a 3-cent per share annual dividend in April.
At the new rate, a full year of dividends would represent about 12% to 13% of projected 2010 cash flows from operations, the company said.
“We are increasing the size and frequency of our dividends, while continuing an effective share repurchase program,” chief executive officer Stephen Hemsley said in a statement.
UnitedHealth shares rose 1.5% to $29.30 in premarket trading.