Intel Delivers Larger Dividend Hike Than Expected and 2016 Growth Outlook

If you are surprised about Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) announcing that it has hiked its dividend again, you haven’t been reading 24/7 Wall St. long enough. Just this week we featured Intel as one of six companies expected to raise their dividends before the end of 2015, but Intel raised its payout a tad more than our base case. Remember that Intel is in the process of acquiring Altera Corp. (NASDAQ: ALTR).

At Intel’s annual investor meeting, the company’s board of directors approved an increase in its annualized cash dividend to $1.04 per share. On a quarterly basis, that translates to $0.26 per share, versus the prior $0.24 per share payout. When we called for the coming dividend hike, our view was that Intel would raise its dividend to $1.00 per share on an annualized basis, so this is double the dividend hike that we were looking for.

What’s key is that Intel is raising its dividend payout by 8.3%. If you use the $33.16 closing price from Wednesday, that new yield will be 3.13%. The prior yield was 2.89%.

What is perhaps more important than Intel’s dividend news was its annual guidance for 2016. Intel did note that its outlook reflects the impact of a 53-week fiscal 2016, for whatever that is worth. Revenue growth was projected to be in the mid-single digits for 2016, and Thomson Reuters has revenue estimates being down 1.1% to $55.25 billion in 2015 and then up 4% to $57.5 billion in 2016.

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Intel also gave additional guidance for 2016. Its gross margin was put at 62%, plus or minus a couple of points. R&D spending plus MG&A spending as a percentage of revenue is expected to be down half of a point, and capital spending was offered at roughly $10 billion, plus or minus $500 million, which includes approximately $1.5 billion for memory.

Another driving force for Intel is that the company is claiming that it can continue to grow even if the PC market remains in decline. Intel said that its strategy is to utilize its core assets to move into profitable and complementary market segments. The Client Computing business was noted a strong foundation for healthy profits, and Intel said that it also provides critical intellectual property to the rest of Intel.

Intel’s growth engines ahead were signaled as Data Center, Internet of Things and Memory businesses.

It was back in June that Intel announced a confirmed merger agreement to acquire Altera. That acquisition valued Altera for $54 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $16.7 billion. At that time, Intel said that the Altera acquisition should be accretive to Intel’s non-GAAP earnings and free cash flow in the first year after close. It also was noted that the funding would be from a combination of cash from the balance sheet and debt.

Shares of Intel were last seen up 3.5% at $34.33 in somewhat active trading. Its consensus analyst price target is currently $34.95 and its 52-week range is $24.87 to $37.90.

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