Brinker International, Inc. (NYSE: EAT) is trying to show that it has earnings power and anticipates earnings growth ahead. The company is hiking its dividend payout by 25%. Business at Chili’s and Maggiano’s must be holding up well. Brinker currently owns, operates or franchises 1,536 Chili’s and 45 Maggiano’s Little Italy chains, and it holds a minority investment in Romano’s Macaroni Grill.
The restaurant chain’s board of directors is hiking the quarterly dividend payout to $0.20 from $0.16 per share and the payout is payable on September 27, 2012 to shareholders of record as of September 10, 2012. Brinker’s board went a step further and authorized an additional $500 million for its share buyback plan today. This gives additional infusion for the buyback plan gives the company the ability to repurchase up to $626 million as of now. That is not a huge nominal buyback compared to elsewhere with larger companies, but it represents a huge portion of the company here as Brinker’s market cap is only $2.5 billion.
After calculating the dividend hike, Brinker will be paying shareholders as of today’s close a new dividend yield of 2.36% versus about 1.9% now. Shares closed down 0.7% at $33.85 and the 52-week range is $19.50 to $35.18.
JON C. OGG