A solidly profitable Owens Corning said Wednesday it will resume paying a quarterly dividend for the first time in nearly 14 years.
The Toledo company also easily beat analysts’ expectations for the fourth quarter, reporting a profit of $82 million after losing $56 million in the fourth quarter of 2012.
The news sent shares sharply higher Wednesday, with OC closing at $43.20, a gain of 9 percent.
Chief Executive Officer Mike Thaman said Wednesday the company’s strong performance in 2013 and bullish outlook allowed the board to make the decision to reinstitute a dividend.
“This is a company that in its history had always been a divided-paying industrial company,” he said. “That’s how we think about ourselves. We know that we’ve got great cash-generating capabilities.”
The 16-cent per share dividend will be paid April 3 to shareholders as of March 14. Owens Corning hasn’t paid a dividend since filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in late 2000. The dividend was 7.5 cents per share when it was discontinued.
On Wednesday, Owens Corning said a stabilizing economy and improving U.S. housing market helped boost fourth-quarter sales and profits. The company also benefited from a one-time, $31 million insurance payout related to Hurricane Sandy.
Total sales for the quarter were $1.3 billion, up from $1.2 billion the previous year. Sales were up for both composites and building materials.
For the year, Owens Corning reported total sales of $5.3 billion, up a little more than 2 percent from 2012.
The company recorded a profit of $204 million, or $1.71 per share for the year.
In 2012, OC recorded a loss of $19 million, or 16 cents per share. The company was saddled that year by significant charges related to worldwide restructuring and debt extinguishment.
Mr. Thaman told analysts he was pleased with the company’s year.
“Overall we delivered a strong 2013, and we expect to deliver another strong 2014,” he said. “Our businesses are executing on the right strategies, and we are seeing continued improvement in our key markets.”
Of particular note was OC’s insulation business returning to profitability for the first time since 2008.
The company reported a $40 million profit in insulation before taxes and interest.
“We expect 2014 to be another strong year for the company,” Mr. Thaman said. “We expect to see another great year out of roofing, continued improvement in insulation, and progress in our composites business, all building toward continued strong growth for our company.”
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