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Published: Tuesday, 1/14/2014 - Updated: 2 years ago

GM approves dividend on eve of CEO’s departure


DETROIT -- General Motors Co. on Tuesday resurrected its common-stock dividend, which it suspended in July 2008, reflecting another financial milestone in the company’s comeback.

GM’s board of directors approved a quarterly dividend of 30 cents per share, payable for the first time March 28 to all common shareholders on record as of March 18.

The board met this week on the sidelines of the North American International Auto Show to consider the issue. The company hasn’t had a common stock dividend since 2008, when GM and the entire U.S. economy were floundering.

GM had hinted for several months that the dividend’s return was likely.

The decision comes as one of the final acts under the leadership of CEO Dan Akerson, who is retiring Wednesday to care for his wife, Karin, who is fighting cancer.

“Today’s General Motors is designing high-quality, world-class vehicles for our customers and delivering consistently solid financial results,” Akerson said in a statement. “The board understands that our investors should share in this success and is pleased to announce a quarterly dividend for our common stockholders.”

With about $37.3 billion in automotive liquidity as of Sept. 30, analysts expected GM to start returning cash to stockholders.

Product chief Mary Barra will take over as CEO on Wednesday, while Chief Financial Officer Daniel Ammann will become the company’s president.

“This return to shareholders is consistent with our capital priorities and is an important signal of confidence in our plans for a continuing profitable future,” Ammann said.

Ammann is expected to address the issue Wednesday in a Deutsche Bank conference in Detroit and at the Automotive News World Congress, where Akerson will deliver his farewell address Wednesday night.

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