MILWAUKEE, Dec. 6, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The board of directors of Wisconsin Energy Corporation (NYSE: WEC) today announced that it is planning to raise the quarterly dividend to 34 cents a share on the company's common stock in the first quarter of 2013. This would represent an increase of 4 cents a share over the current quarterly rate. The directors expect to declare the new dividend at their regularly scheduled meeting in January. The dividend – which would be equivalent to an annual rate of $1.36 a share – is expected to be payable March 1, 2013, to stockholders of record on Feb. 14, 2013. "We're continuing to target a dividend payout ratio of 60 percent of earnings in 2014 as we strive to make our dividend policy more competitive with our peers across the utility industry," said Gale Klappa, chairman, president and chief executive officer. "The board's plan for 2013 would mark a significant step toward that goal." The company also reaffirmed that it expects 2012 earnings to be in a range of $2.31 to $2.33 a share. Wisconsin Energy Corporation (NYSE: WEC), based in Milwaukee, is one of the nation's premier energy companies, serving more than 1.1 million electric customers in Wisconsin and Michigan's Upper Peninsula and more than 1 million natural gas customers in Wisconsin. The company's principal utility is We Energies. The company's other major subsidiary, We Power, designs, builds and owns electric generating plants. Wisconsin Energy Corporation (wisconsinenergy.com), a component of theS&P 500, has nearly $14 billion of assets, approximately 4,600 employees and over 43,000 registered stockholders.Forward-looking StatementsCertain statements contained in this press release are "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. These statements are based upon management's current expectations and are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause our actual results to differ materially from those contemplated in the statements. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these statements. Forward-looking statements include, among other things, statements concerning management's expectations and projections regarding earnings, dividend payouts and increases and other matters. In some cases, forward-looking statements may be identified by reference to a future period or periods or by the use of forward-looking terminology such as "anticipates," "believes," "estimates," "expects," "forecasts," "guidance," "intends," "may," "objectives," "plans" "possible," "potential," "projects," "should," "targets" or similar terms or variations of these terms. Actual results may differ materially from those set forth in forward-looking statements. In addition to the assumptions and other factors referred to specifically in connection with these statements, factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contemplated in any forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to: general economic conditions; business, competitive and regulatory conditions in the deregulating and consolidating energy industry, in general, and, in particular, in the company's service territories; timing, resolution and impact of pending and future rate cases and other regulatory decisions; availability of the company's generating facilities; varying weather conditions; catastrophic weather-related or terrorism-related damage; cyber-security threats; unanticipated changes in purchased power costs; unanticipated changes in coal or natural gas prices and supply and transportation availability; the ability to recover fuel and purchased power costs; nonperformance by purchased power or natural gas suppliers under existing contracts; environmental incidents; key personnel changes; inflation rates; customer growth and declines; customer business conditions, including demand for their products and services; energy conservation efforts; construction risks, including those associated with the construction of new environmental controls and renewable generation; adverse interpretation or enforcement of permit conditions by permitting agencies; restrictions imposed by financing arrangements and regulatory requirements on the ability of the company's subsidiaries to transfer funds to it in the form of cash dividends, loans or advances; current and future litigation, regulatory investigations, proceedings or inquiries, including Federal Energy Regulatory Commission matters and Internal Revenue Service audits and other tax matters; the impact of recent and future federal, state and local legislative and regulatory changes; equity and bond market fluctuations and events in the global credit markets that may affect the availability and cost of capital; the investment performance of the company's pension and other post-retirement benefit trusts; the financial performance of the American Transmission Company; the effect of accounting pronouncements issued periodically by standard setting bodies; foreign, governmental, economic, political and currency risks; and other factors described under the heading "Factors Affecting Results, Liquidity and Capital Resources" in Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations and under the headings "Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Information" and "Risk Factors" contained in the company's Form 10-K for the year ended Dec. 31, 2011 and in subsequent reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The company expressly disclaims any obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.