SEATTLE , July 11, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Alaska Air Group announced today that it will initiate a quarterly cash dividend. Air Group's board of directors declared a $.20 per share dividend to be paid on Aug. 22, 2013, to all shareholders of record as of Aug. 6.
Air Group's quarterly dividend will be financed from operating cash flow and existing cash on hand.
"We're pleased to introduce a dividend as a supplement to our ongoing multiyear stock repurchase program. The combination underscores the board's commitment to build long-term shareholder value," Alaska Air Group President and CEO Brad Tilden said. " Alaska's strong financial results over the past several years have allowed us to pay meaningful bonuses to our employees, profitably reinvest in our business and grow our network while significantly reducing debt, keeping our pensions well funded and returning capital to our owners. We believe these financial results are sustainable and a dividend now makes sense as part of our balanced capital allocation strategy."
The dividend will be in addition to the $250 million stock repurchase program announced in September 2012. Air Group is approximately one-quarter of the way through the program, which is targeted to be completed by the end of 2014. Since 2006, the company has used cash generated from its business to purchase more than $370 million of its common stock while simultaneously paying down debt and cutting its leverage ratio by nearly 30 percentage points from where it was in 2008.Alaska Air Group intends to pay a dividend each quarter, however, future amounts and payment dates are subject to the determination and approval of the company's board of directors.