Ensco plc (NYSE: ESV) announced today that its Board of Directors has declared a regular quarterly cash dividend of US$0.75 per Class A ordinary share payable on 20 December 2013 to holders of Ensco’s shares as of the 9 December 2013 record date. The prior quarterly dividend was $0.50 per share.
Based upon today’s closing stock price of $57.07 per share and the new $3.00 per share annualized dividend, Ensco’s dividend yield is approximately 5.3%. This is among the top 5% of all S&P 500 companies. The new annualized dividend is approximately 55% of Ensco’s trailing twelve months earnings per share.
Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Dan Rabun stated, “Our strong balance sheet, $11 billion in contracted revenue backlog and positive outlook for future earnings and cash flow growth support this increase to our quarterly cash dividend. Our active fleet has grown with the commencement of four additional rigs during the past year alone and we will continue to grow our active fleet as we deliver six new rigs currently under construction.”
Mr. Rabun added, “Management and the Board believe the new dividend payout is prudent and sustainable, as well as responsive to investors who have shared constructive feedback regarding returning more capital to shareholders. We expect to continue to have adequate liquidity to fund our rigs under construction, while maintaining flexibility to return additional capital to shareholders and invest in new rigs that leverage our intellectual property.”
Today’s dividend increase announcement is the second by Ensco this year. On 26 February 2013, the Company announced a 33% dividend increase to $0.50 per share. On 20 May 2013, Ensco’s shareholders approved a $2 billion share buyback authorization over a five-year period.
As of 30 September 2013, Ensco’s total debt-to-capital ratio was 28%, the second lowest among major offshore drilling contractors. Cash and cash equivalents totaled $325 million and a $2 billion revolving credit facility was fully available.