UPDATE 1-CME to pay dividend this month to avoid "fiscal cliff"

Wed Dec 5, 2012 6:30pm EST

CHICAGO Dec 5 (Reuters) - CME Group Inc, the biggest operator of U.S. futures exchanges, on Wednesday joined a number of companies moving 2013 dividend payouts to this month to shield shareholders from expected tax increases.

CME's board of directors approved a plan to pay the company's annual variable dividend this month, instead of next year as earlier planned.

"Because of uncertainty regarding future taxation of dividends, CME Group's board of directors has accelerated the timing of this dividend - which would have been paid in first-quarter 2013 - into the fourth quarter of 2012 in order to maximize the after-tax value to its shareholders," CME said in a statement.

The exchange operator declared an annual variable dividend of $1.30 per share payable on Dec. 28 to shareholders of record on Dec, 17. It paid its first annual variable dividend in March 2012, in the amount of $0.60 per share.

CME also will pay a regular quarterly dividend of $0.45 per share on Dec. 26 to shareholders of record on Dec. 10. 2012.