continues to curry favor with investors, as the company Monday boosted its quarterly dividend and resumed a share-buyback program, less than one week after announcing blowout first-quarter results and raising earnings guidance.
The somewhat beleaguered aerospace giant, which has been trying to fix an image problem after a number of scandals forced top executives to resign, announced a new quarterly dividend of 20 cents a share, up from the current level of 17 cents a share. The dividend is payable on June 11 to shareholders of record as of May 21.
In reaction to the news, shares of Boeing rose $1.08, or 2.5%, to $43.77.
Also, the company announced plans to resume the share-buyback program that was authorized in 2000, but halted after the World Trade Center attacks. Of the 85 million shares that Boeing authorized in the buyback program, slightly more than half -- 44 million -- are available for repurchase.
The company also said it was considering making a $1 billion contribution to its pension plan.
The news comes as Boeing holds its annual shareholders meeting in Chicago, which will be headed by CEO Harry Stonecipher for the first time. Stonecipher, who retired from the company in 2002, returned in December after former CEO Phil Condit abruptly resigned and has been performing damage control with not only Wall Street, but Washington, D.C., as well.
Two weeks ago, Darleen Druyun, a former Boeing vice president, pleaded guilty to a federal conspiracy charge as part of a government investigation into Boeing's bid on a $17 billion contract to lease and sell tankers to the Pentagon. At the heart of the case, which is still being investigated, is the question of whether the company improperly influenced a government official with a job offer to win the contract.
But Stonecipher has shown a remarkable ability to offset the scandals with good news. Last week, Boeing
announced a first-quarter profit that topped Wall Street earnings-per-hare expectations by more than 20 cents, while raising earnings guidance for 2004 and 2005.