The Rouse Co. said yesterday that its board of directors approved a 10 percent increase in the common stock cash dividend, reflecting the strong position of real estate investment trusts.
Columbia-based Rouse said the dividend will increase to 39 cents a share quarterly, from 35.5 cents a share in 2001. The annual rate will be $1.56 a share, up from $1.42 a share in 2001.
Rouse became a public company in 1956 and began paying dividends in 1978 at an annual rate of 6.7 cents a share, adjusted for stock splits. The dividend has been increased 22 times, according to the company.
The first quarter dividend will be paid March 29 to shareholders of record March 15.
The board also approved the regular quarterly dividend on the company's Series B convertible preferred stock of 75 cents a share, payable April 1 to shareholders of record March 15.
"The board was extremely pleased that 2001's results were so strong in such a difficult environment," said Anthony W. Deering, the company's board chairman and chief executive officer.
"Notwithstanding the recession and the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, and their aftermath, the company's funds from operations were $3.62 per share, 10 percent ahead of 2000 and above expectations at the beginning of 2001.
"The directors were also optimistic about the impact of the acquisition of interests in eight premier shopping centers from Rodamco North America NV, which was announced in early January and is expected to be completed by May 2002."