JCPenney's disaster, of course, overshadowed a great deal of other news yesterday. Getty Realty (GTY - Get Report), the nation's largest publicly traded convenience store/gas station REIT, announced a 60% increase in its quarterly dividend, to 20 cents a share. Getty, which had a very rough 2011 as a result of missed lease payments, and ultimately bankruptcy of the company's largest tenant, Getty Petroleum Marketing (GPMI), had to cut, and then eliminate the dividend, which had been as high as 48 cents a quarter.
Getty repossessed 788 affected properties in May of last year then resumed paying a dividend the following month, albeit a much smaller one at 12.5 cents a quarter. Yesterday's announced increase puts the indicated dividend yield back above 4%.
Getty continues to enter into triple-net lease agreements on the properties formerly leased to GPMI, including four new leases involving 161 properties last quarter. The company is also actively selling some of its properties, including 25 last quarter. Getty remains remains real-estate rich, however, and still owns more than 900 locations.
It's been a nice turnaround so far, with shares up about 60% since late 2011, but the stock's path has not been straight up, and there's more progress to be made. If the company has the wherewithal to further ratchet up the dividend, that should bode well for the stock.At the time of publication, Heller was long GTY. Follow @jonmhellerCFA This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.