Regions Central Virginia

Universal Corp. announces stock repurchase, dividend increase

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Richmond-based Universal Corp. has announced plans to repurchase up to $100 million of its common stock and raise its quarterly dividend.

The international leaf tobacco supplier said the stock purchases will be made in open market or in privately negotiated transactions at prices not exceeding prevailing market rates. 

Universal has approximately 23.2 million common shares outstanding.

In addition, company's board of directors has increased its quarterly dividend on the common shares by one cent to 51 cents per share. 

The dividend is payable Feb. 10 to common shareholders of record at the close of business on Jan.13.

This increase would create an annualized rate of $2.04 per share and a yield of about 3.78 percent based on the $53.93 closing price on Oct. 30.

The board also declared a quarterly dividend of $16.875 per share on the Series B 6.75 percent convertible perpetual preferred stock, payable Dec. 16 to shareholders of record on Dec. 1. 

Universal has raised its common dividend every year since 1971.

The company operates in more than 30 countries and had revenue of $2.5 billion in its last fiscal year.

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