General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) has held its annual shareholder meeting today. With at least a bit of a surprise on our part, there was no formal action announced on the dividend. Not yet. However, the dividend hike is coming, and it seems we are probably now closer to a hike in the dividend than we are going backwards from when it was cut. I was given a brief exclusive interview with Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt this morning ahead of the shareholder meeting, and the dividend was the first order of business.
While Immelt did not commit on the timing (in 2011) nor on the amount to be paid out, the dividend hike is coming. I specifically asked, “No sneaky news about the dividend?… You have said on record 2011, I guess you guys mean it.”
Immelt responded, “We’ve got a lot of cash. We think growing the dividend is good for our investors. We plan to do that and I’ve got nothing to add other than what was previously said… other than, the dividend is going up.”
The Immelt interview did not cover traditional 10-K material nor was it entirely based upon information that was covered at the annual meeting today. That full interview will run tomorrow morning, so stay tuned.
JON C. OGG