ATLANTA, April 19 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Southern Company said today it is increasing its annual dividend rate by 4 percent, to $1.82 per share.
The increase, totaling 7 cents per share on an annual basis, marks the ninth straight year that Southern Company has raised the dividend on its common stock.
Southern Company also announced today a regular quarterly dividend – including an increase of 1 3/4 cents per share on a quarterly basis – of 45 1/2 cents per share, payable June 5, 2010, to shareholders of record May 3, 2010. This marks 250 consecutive quarters – dating back to 1948 – that Southern Company will have paid a dividend to its shareholders.
"Southern Company continues to meet our commitment of providing our investors with superior risk-adjusted returns over the long term, which is a testament to our financial integrity and our sound business model," said David M. Ratcliffe, chairman, president, and chief executive officer. "Our history of more than 62 years of paying quarterly dividends underscores the strength of our business and our confidence in the long-term viability of our region's economy."
With 4.4 million customers and more than 42,000 megawatts of generating capacity, Atlanta-based Southern Company (NYSE: SO) is the premier energy company serving the Southeast. A leading U.S. producer of electricity, Southern Company owns electric utilities in four states and a growing competitive generation company, as well as fiber optics and wireless communications. Southern Company brands are known for excellent customer service, high reliability and retail electric prices that are below the national average. Southern Company is consistently listed among the top U.S. electric service providers in customer satisfaction by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). Visit our Web site at www.southerncompany.com.
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements:
Certain information contained in this presentation is forward-looking information based on current expectations and plans that involve risks and uncertainties. Forward-looking information includes, among other things, statements concerning total shareholder return, customer and sales growth, and viability of the region's economy. Southern Company cautions that there are certain factors that can cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking information that has been provided. The reader is cautioned not to put undue reliance on this forward-looking information, which is not a guarantee of future performance and is subject to a number of uncertainties and other factors, many of which are outside the control of Southern Company; accordingly, there can be no assurance that such suggested results will be realized. The following factors, in addition to those disclosed in Southern Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2009, and subsequent securities filings, could cause results to differ materially from management expectations as suggested by such forward-looking information: the impact of recent and future federal and state regulatory change, including legislative and regulatory initiatives regarding deregulation and restructuring of the electric utility industry, implementation of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, environmental laws including regulation of water quality and emissions of sulfur, nitrogen, mercury, carbon, soot, particulate matter, or coal combustion byproducts and other substances, and also changes in tax and other laws and regulations to which Southern Company and its subsidiaries are subject, as well as changes in application of existing laws and regulations; current and future litigation, regulatory investigations, proceedings, or inquiries, including the pending Environmental Protection Agency civil actions against certain Southern Company subsidiaries, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission matters, Internal Revenue Service audits, and Mirant Corporation matters; the effects, extent, and timing of the entry of additional competition in the markets in which Southern Company's subsidiaries operate; variations in demand for electricity, including those relating to weather, the general economy and recovery from the recent recession, population and business growth (and declines), and the effects of energy conservation measures; available sources and costs of fuels; effects of inflation; ability to control costs and avoid cost overruns during the development and construction of facilities; investment performance of Southern Company's employee benefit plans and nuclear decommissioning trusts; advances in technology; state and federal rate regulations and the impact of pending and future rate cases and negotiations, including rate actions relating to fuel and other cost recovery mechanisms; regulatory approvals and actions related to the potential Plant Vogtle expansion, including Georgia Public Service Commission and Nuclear Regulatory Commission approvals and potential Department of Energy loan guarantees; the performance of projects undertaken by the non-utility businesses and the success of efforts to invest in and develop new opportunities; internal restructuring or other restructuring options that may be pursued; potential business strategies, including acquisitions or dispositions of assets or businesses, which cannot be assured to be completed or beneficial to Southern Company or its subsidiaries; the ability of counterparties of Southern Company and its subsidiaries to make payments as and when due and to perform as required; the ability to obtain new short- and long-term contracts with wholesale customers; the direct or indirect effect on Southern Company's business resulting from terrorist incidents and the threat of terrorist incidents; interest rate fluctuations and financial market conditions and the results of financing efforts, including Southern Company's and its subsidiaries' credit ratings; the ability of Southern Company and its subsidiaries to obtain additional generating capacity at competitive prices; catastrophic events such as fires, earthquakes, explosions, floods, hurricanes, droughts, pandemic health events such as influenzas, or other similar occurrences; the direct or indirect effects on Southern Company's business resulting from incidents affecting the U.S. electric grid or operation of generating resources; and the effect of accounting pronouncements issued periodically by standard setting bodies. Southern Company and its subsidiaries expressly disclaim any obligation to update any forward-looking statements.
SOURCE Southern Company