Leggett & Platt (LEG) announced Thursday announced an increase in its quarterly dividend to 29 cents per share, a 3.6% increase from the fourth quarter of 2011. The real news in this announcement though is that the company is accelerating payment of the dividend to avoid a tax increase that is scheduled to take effect next year.
The tax on dividends is just one of a series of tax increases that could take effect if the so-called fiscal cliff is not averted. The company's fourth-quarter dividend is normally paid in January, but the company moved the payment into December so it would be taxed at the 2012 rate and avoid any increase.
This is a nice move by Leggett & Platt, and I would expect to see several more companies make similar moves as we get closer to the end of the year.
Bobby Raines is the Managing Editor of the Market Intelligence Center. He has degrees in Mass Communications and History from Emory & Henry College. Bobby worked at a mid-sized daily newspaper before making a switch to covering the financial industry full time in the years leading up to the financial crisis. He has been a member of the Fresh Brewed Media team since 2011 and has served as a writer and analyst. You can write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.