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Bob Evans Lifts Dividend by 11%

Bob Evans Farms said its board has approved a 2c increase in its quarterly dividend to 20 cents a share.



) --

Bob Evans Farms Inc.


is sweetening the pot for shareholders.

After Wednesday's closing bell, the Columbus, Ohio-based casual restaurant operator said its board has approved an 11.1% increase in its quarterly cash dividend to 20 cents a share from 18 cents.

The higher dividend will be payable on Sept. 21 to shareholders of record on Sept. 7. Based on Wednesday's closing price of $25.45, the move will boost the forward annual yield on the stock to 3.1% from 2.8%.

"Increasing our dividend at the same time that we are repurchasing shares demonstrates our ongoing commitment to our stockholders," said Steve Davis, the company's chairman and CEO, in a statement.

Bob Evans announced its fiscal first-quarter results on August 17, posting a profit of $12.5 million, or 41 cents a share, for the three months ended July 30. That performance came in 3 cents short of the average estimate of analysts polled by

Thomson Reuters

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. The company also reaffirmed its outlook for operating income of $105 million to $110 million in fiscal 2011 on sales of $1.7 billion.

Year-to-date, the stock is down about 14%, and it's fallen roughly 25% since hitting a 52-week high of $34 on April 26.


Written by Michael Baron in New York.

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