TEXT-S&P : Boeing ups dividend; rating unaffected

Wed Dec 19, 2012 9:30am EST

Dec 19 - Standard & Poor's Ratings Services today said its ratings and outlook on Boeing Co. (A/Stable/A-1) are not affected by the company's recent announcement that it would raise its dividend 10% and restart its share repurchase program by buying $1.5 billion to $2 billion of its stock in 2013. The company suspended dividend increases and share repurchases in 2009 to preserve liquidity in response to the economic crisis and problems on the 787 program. Boeing had $11 billion of cash and short-term investments as of Sept. 30, 2012, and we assess the company's liquidity as "exceptional." We had expected the company to start returning some of its excess cash to shareholders now that the 787 has begun deliveries and the program appears to be stabilizing, as this should result in a material increase in free cash flow the next few years.