Southern Company raising annual dividend to $1.49 per share; rate increased for fourth consecutive year
ATLANTA Southern Company said today it is increasing its annual dividend rate by 6 cents, or 4 percent, to $1.49 per share.
The quarterly dividend, payable June 6 to shareholders of record May 2, will increase 1½ cents to 37¼ cents per share. This is the fourth consecutive year that Southern Company has raised its dividend, and the current quarter is the 230th consecutive quarter dating back to 1948 that the company will have paid a dividend on the companys common stock to its shareholders.
Chairman, President and CEO David M. Ratcliffe said the dividend represents a key part of the total return Southern Company offers its shareholders.
Our goal is to provide investors with good value for low risk. This action is consistent with our objective of delivering long-term earnings growth of approximately 5 percent a year, Ratcliffe said.
With more than 4 million customers and nearly 39,000 megawatts of generating capacity, Atlanta-based Southern Company (NYSE: SO) is the premier super-regional energy company in the Southeast and a leading U.S. producer of electricity. Southern Company owns electric utilities in four states, a growing competitive generation company and a competitive retail natural gas business, as well as fiber optics and wireless communications. Southern Company brands are known for excellent customer service, high reliability and retail electric prices that are 15 percent below the national average. Southern Company has been ranked the nation`s top energy utility in the American Customer Satisfaction Index five years in a row. Southern Company has more than 500,000 shareholders, making its common stock one of the most widely held in the United States. Visit the Southern Company Web site at www.southerncompany.com.
Forward Looking Statements Note:
Certain information contained in this release is forward-looking information based on current expectations and plans that involve risks and uncertainties. Forward-looking information includes, among other things, statements concerning dividends, results of operations and Southern Companys strategies. Southern Company cautions that there are certain factors that can cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking information that has been provided. The reader is cautioned not to put undue reliance on this forward-looking information, which is not a guarantee of future performance and is subject to a number of uncertainties and other factors, many of which are outside the control of Southern Company; accordingly, there can be no assurance that such suggested results will be realized.
The following factors, in addition to those discussed in Southern Companys Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended Dec. 31, 2004, and subsequent securities filings, could cause results to differ materially from management expectations as suggested by such forward-looking information: the impact of recent and future federal and state regulatory change, including legislative and regulatory initiatives regarding deregulation and restructuring of the electric utility industry, and also changes in environmental, tax and other laws and regulations to which Southern Company and its subsidiaries are subject, as well as changes in application of existing laws and regulations; current and future litigation, regulatory investigations, proceedings or inquiries, including the pending EPA civil actions against certain Southern Company subsidiaries, IRS audits and Mirant-related matters; the effects, extent and timing of the entry of additional competition in the markets in which Southern Companys subsidiaries operate; variations in demand for electricity and gas, including those relating to weather, the general economy and population and business growth (and declines); available sources and costs of fuels; ability to control costs; investment performance of Southern Companys employee benefit plans; advances in technology; state and federal rate regulations and the impact of pending and future rate cases and negotiations; the performance of projects undertaken by the non-utility businesses and the success of efforts to invest in and develop new opportunities; internal restructuring or other restructuring options that may be pursued; potential business strategies, including acquisitions or dispositions of assets or businesses, which cannot be assured to be completed or beneficial to Southern Company or its subsidiaries; the ability of counterparties of Southern Company and its subsidiaries to make payments as and when due; the ability to obtain new short- and long-term contracts with neighboring utilities; the direct or indirect effect on Southern Companys business resulting from terrorist incidents and the threat of terrorist incidents; interest rate fluctuations and financial market conditions and the results of financing efforts, including Southern Companys and its subsidiaries credit ratings; the ability of Southern Company and its subsidiaries to obtain additional generating capacity at competitive prices; catastrophic events such as fires, earthquakes, floods, hurricanes or other similar occurrences; the direct or indirect effects on Southern Companys business resulting from incidents similar to the August 2003 power outage in the Northeast; and the effect of accounting pronouncements issued periodically by standard-setting bodies. Southern Company and its subsidiaries expressly disclaim any obligation to update any forward-looking information.
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