Cigna Corporation (CI) will start paying quarterly dividends in 2021 with a first payment of $1.00 per share. This means the health services company will raise its annual dividend by 9900 percent from $0.04 per share to $4.00 per share this year. The company had been paying an annual dividend of 4 cents since 2008 and this is the first dividend hike since.
In a press release dated January 6, 2021, Cigna announced that it has instituted a quarterly cash dividend and declared the first quarterly cash dividend of $1.00 per share of Cigna common stock to be paid on March 25, 2021 to shareholders of record as of the close of trading on March 10, 2021.
"Cigna has a long track record of effective capital deployment, and our initiation of a quarterly dividend demonstrates our confidence in our ongoing ability to drive growth as we meet the needs of those we serve," said David M. Cordani, president and chief executive officer in today's press release. "We are excited to share more at our Investor Day on March 8, 2021 about the strategic positioning of our businesses, drivers of ongoing, differentiated growth, and strong operating cash flow generation, which position us to deliver attractive shareholder returns."
"The Board's initiation of a quarterly dividend is part of a balanced capital deployment strategy to maximize shareholder value," said Brian C. Evanko, executive vice president and chief financial officer. "As we complete our intended deleveraging plans, our strong operating cash flows and forward growth path enable us to initiate a quarterly dividend while maintaining strong liquidity and capital flexibility in order to support ongoing investments for growth and expected meaningful share repurchase activity."
Because of this huge dividend hike the annual payment to shareholders will jump from an estimated $14 million to $1.44 billion. At a stock price of $209.43 the new annual dividend rate of $4.00 per share yields 1.9%. It is likely that this dividend hike will be the biggest of all listed US companies in 2021. To put things into perspective: in 2020 just one company hiked its dividend by more 1000 percent with a 4900 percent dividend increase from Radian Group (RDN).
Cigna Corporation is a global health service company. The company's products and services are provided exclusively by or through operating subsidiaries of Cigna Corporation, including Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company, Connecticut General Life Insurance Company, Evernorth companies or their affiliates and Express Scripts companies or their affiliates. Such products and services include an integrated suite of health services, such as medical, dental, behavioral health, pharmacy, vision, supplemental benefits and other related products. Cigna maintains sales capability in over 30 countries and jurisdictions, and has more than 170 million customer relationships around the world.