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Whirlpool Rewards Investors with More Dividend and Buybacks

Whirlpool Corporation WHR, known for its shareholder-friendly moves, rewarded its shareholders once again with an 11% quarterly dividend hike and a new $1 billion share repurchase authorization.

With this, the company’s dividend has increased to $1.00 per share from 90 cents paid earlier. The increased dividend will be paid on Jun 15, 2016, to stockholders of record as of May 20, 2016.

Following the announcement, shares of this Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) company rose 1.6% in the after-hours trading session yesterday, closing at $193.01.

Previously, Whirlpool had raised its dividend to 90 cents from 75 cents per share on Apr 20, 2015, indicating an increase of 20%. With the latest hike, Whirlpool has now increased its dividend from 22.5 cents to $1.00 since 1983. The dividend yield based on the new payout and the last closing market price is approximately 2.1%.

Apart from highlighting its commitment toward creating shareholder value, regular dividend payments and increments, along with regular share buybacks, reflect the company’s potential to enhance earnings and cash flow generation capabilities. Also, it demonstrates the company’s confidence in its long-term strategies that promise value via industry-leading brands and innovative new products.

Whirlpool's strong balance sheet and cash flows provide financial flexibility to the company for taking shareholder-friendly initiatives, R&D investments and global business expansion. In fourth-quarter 2015, the company bought back $155 million worth of shares and had $225 million of authorization remaining under its current share repurchase program. The company expects to complete this authorization this year itself.

Whirlpool had cash and cash equivalents of $2,530 million as of Dec 31, 2015, and long-term debt of $3,470 million. This largest home-appliances manufacturer in the world generated $1,225 million of cash in operating activities in 2015. Meanwhile, the company’s capital expenditure in the period was $689 million. As of Dec 31, 2015, Whirlpool had free cash flow of $620 million.

In 2016, the company expects to generate free cash flow in the range of $700–$800 million. This guidance includes restructured cash outlays of up to $200 million and capital expenditures in the range of $700–$750 million. We are encouraged by Whirlpool's strong cash position and its ability to service long-term debts.

Other companies that recently increased their dividend include Costco Wholesale Corp. COST by 12.5% to 45 cents, Constellation Brands Inc. STZ, by 29% to 40 cents for Class A shares and 36 cents for Class B shares, and Colgate-Palmolive Company CL by 3% to 39 cents.

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WHIRLPOOL CORP (WHR): Free Stock Analysis Report
COSTCO WHOLE CP (COST): Free Stock Analysis Report
COLGATE PALMOLI (CL): Free Stock Analysis Report
CONSTELLATN BRD (STZ): Free Stock Analysis Report
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