By Ernest Scheyder and Braden Reddall
April 25 Exxon Mobil Corp, the world's
largest publicly traded oil company, raised its quarterly
dividend by 21 percent on We dnesday, bowing to sustained
pressure from investors and Wall Street analysts.
Chevron Corp, its nearest U.S. rival, announced late
o n Wednesday that its quarterly dividend would rise another 9
cents per share, matching its ultimate increase last year that
it pushed through in two stages.
Exxon raised its quarterly payout to 57 cents from 47 cents.
The dividend will be payable on June 11 to shareholders of
record as of May 14.
Exxon shares rose 0.4 percent after the announcement, and
closed 0.6 percent higher at $86.85, having traded between
$67.03 and $88.03 in the past 52 weeks.
The company, which had $12.66 billion in cash at the end of
last year, was under pressure from Wall Street and shareholders
to match the payout of Chevron, which has a market
capitalization about half that of Exxon.
The 21 percent rise was larger than the 10 percent to 15
percent many analysts had expected.
Exxon, based in Irving, Texas, has historically favored
share buybacks over dividend increases as a way to increase
returns, spending $20 billion on share repurchases last year and
$9 billion on dividends.
Chief Executive Rex Tillerson told analysts at the New York
Stock Exchange last month that Exxon would seriously evaluate
raising its dividend after it completed buying back shares
issued for its $41 billion all-stock purchase of XTO Energy Inc
The XTO stock repurchase was expected to be completed by the
end of the first quarter, according to a transcript of the
"We are mindful of our competitiveness in the dividend
area," Tillerson said at the NYSE. "We know we are on the low
end of yield, certainly within our sector."
Exxon's annual dividend yield is now 2.6 percent, while
Chevron's 11 percent increase brought its quarterly payout to 90
cents per share, for an annual yield of 3.5 percent based on its
closing share price of $103.85.
Chevron CEO John Watson said in a statement to accompany its
increased dividend, payable on June 11 to shareholders of record
as of May 18, that it reflected confidence in the company's
growth prospects, and marked 100 years of continuous dividend
Chevron has increased its annual dividend for 25 straight
years, the company added.