GE raises dividend

US conglomerate General Electric has
said it is raising its quarterly dividend by 20 per cent because of its
improving financial performance.

The payout will rise by 2 cents to $0.12
(£0.08) per share.

GE slashed its dividend by 68% from
$0.31 to $0.10 in February 2009 to conserve cash during the downturn.

GE also said it would start buying its
own shares again, after suspending its share buyback programme in September
2008. Shares in GE rose 3.3 per cent to $15.71.

The company had previously said it would
not increase its dividend until 2011.

But chief executive Jeff Immelt said GE
could make the move earlier than anticipated because of “continued strong
cash generation, recovery at GE Capital, and solid underlying performance in
our industrial businesses through the first half of 2010”.

The new dividend will be payable on 25
October to shareholders who own stock at the close of business on 20 September.

Last week, GE reported a 16% rise in
quarterly profits, its first growth in net income since late 2007.