WellPoint board OKs 30 pct dividend hike

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Associated Press

Posted on February 21, 2013 at 8:02 AM

Updated Thursday, Feb 21 at 8:02 AM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — WellPoint says it will raise the quarterly dividend it pays shareholders by 30 percent. The announcement comes about week after the health insurer's stock started slipping after it named a new CEO.

The Indianapolis company says it will pay a dividend of 37.5 cents per share in the first quarter, up from its fourth-quarter payout of 28.7 cents per share.

WellPoint expects to return about $2 billion to shareholders this year, through the dividend and share buybacks. The new dividend is payable March 25 to shareholders of record at the close of business on March 8.

The company's stock has dropped about 5 percent since it announced Feb. 12 that veteran hospital executive Joseph Swedish will become CEO. Shares closed at $62.58 on Wednesday.

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