Meanwhile the company has no new product releases planned to either satisfy investors, or fend off the competition until at earliest this fall, at least according to CEO Tim Cook.
What the company does have is a quasi-mythical pile of cash that it has been sitting on for some time. Over the past few months, there have been many high-profile attempts to get Apple to give some of this back to its investors.
With the release of earnings on Tuesday, the company finally decided to follow this course of action, promising shareholders $100 billion in buybacks and dividend payouts through 2015. With Apple’s 15 percent increase to its quarterly dividend to $3.05 per share, the company will be returning some $11.47 billion to shareholders in 2013 alone.
The sum puts it ahead of Exxon Mobil's (XOM) $10.2 billion as the largest dividend payer out there, even though the company only reinstated dividend payments in August of last year (after not having paid any dividends since 1995).
The fact that Apple went from no dividends for nearly 20 years to the largest ever dividends in less than a year does perhaps give the company an air of desperation, which may have something to do with why the stock was not immediately gobbled up by eager investors after the markets opened on Wednesday.
The following companies are the nine largest dividend payers over the next twelve months after Apple, including a brief description of their dividend-payment histories:
Exxon Mobil (XOM) – The second largest dividend payer, as of this past Tuesday evening, has also switched off with Apple as the largest company in the world. It currently holds the number one spot, with a market cap of $399.8 billion, and shares currently trading at $89.43. Exxon will pay $10.2 billion in dividends over the next 12 months. Its annual payout has increased gradually over the years to where it currently stands at $2.28 per share, for an annual yield of 2.55 percent.
AT&T, Inc. (T) – The nation’s second-largest provider of wireless services will pay out $9.9 billion in dividends over the next year. The company’s market cap is $204.78 billion, with shares trading at $37.04. AT&T has also gradually increased its annual dividend payment over the years, to $1.80 per share, for an annual yield of 4.86 percent.
General Electric (GE) – The company will return $7.9 billion in dividends over the next year. With a market cap of $227.75 billion, and shares trading at $21.96, drastically cut dividend payments halfway through 2009 after a gradual increase over a period of years. Its annual dividend payment is currently $0.76 per share, a 3.46 percent annual yield.
Chevron Corp. (CVX) – Chevron will pay out $7 billion in dividends over the next twelve months. The company’s market cap is $229.3 billion, with shares trading at $118.28. Since 2005, the company has accelerated the increases in dividend payments, but this has done so more or less gradually as well. Today, they offer a yield of $3.60 per share, for an annual rate of 3.04 percent.
Microsoft (MSFT) – The tech giant plans to pay out $6.9 billion in dividends over the next year. With a market cap of $265.23 billion, and shares trading at $31.76, the company made a huge large one-time dividend payment at the end of 2004, since which point it has grown dividend payouts at a snail’s pace. Currently the company offers an annual payment of $0.92 per share, for a rate of 2.90 percent.
Pfizer, Inc. (PFE) – The drug manufacturer also plans to pay out $6.9 billion over the next year. The company currently has a market cap of $219.88 billion, with shares trading at $30.60. After gradual increases for a number of years, the company cut its payout in half in the middle of 2009, and is currently offering an annual dividend of $0.96 per share, for a yield of 3.14 percent.
Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) – One of the most recognizable household brand names, the company plans to pay out $6.8 billion in dividends over the next year. With a market cap of $236.04 billion, and shares trading at $84.39, the company has been solid in its dividend increases over the year. Currently, JNJ offers $2.44 per share annually, for a yield of 2.89 percent.
Proctor & Gamble (PG) – The company plans to pay $6.6 billion in dividends over the next year. Its market cap is $210.66 billion, with shares currently trading at $77.12. The company has also been solid in its payout increases over the past years, and currently offers $2.41 per share annually for a 3.12 percent yield.
Verizon Wireless (VZ) – The nation’s largest provider of wireless services will pay $5.9 billion in dividends over the next 12 months. Verizon has a market cap of $150.22 billion, with shares currently trading at $51.80. Aside from a one-time increased payout in November of 2006, the company’s dividend payout has grown just barely over the last few years, currently at $2.06 per share annually, for a 3.98 percent yield.
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