--Coach, DSW and others accelerate dividend payments
--Monro chairman calls the acceleration "prudent"
--Companies are largely motivated by a likely upcoming change in the tax rates on dividends
(Adds more companies that have said they are accelerating their payments)
By Saabira Chaudhuri
Several companies said Tuesday they are accelerating their dividend payments, adding to a growing list of companies looking to make payments to investors before the possibly impending "fiscal cliff."
Companies fear that failure to resolve the fiscal cliff--the tax increases and spending cuts that will go into effect in January unless Congress acts--will tip the economy back into recession by sapping consumer spending, damaging investor confidence and eating into corporate profits. A deal to avert the cliff could include tax-code changes, such as revamping tax breaks or rates, that hurt specific sectors.
"Given our strong balance sheet, and the likelihood of a change in the tax rates on dividends beginning next year that will subject a significant part of the company's U.S. shareholder base to increased dividend taxation for 2013, we believe it is prudent to accelerate the timing of the payment of our fourth quarter dividend to our shareholders into calendar year 2012," Monro Muffler Brake Inc. (MNRO) Chairman Rob Gross said.
The automotive-repair company and shoe retailer DSW Inc. (DSW) both said they would accelerate their regular per-share fourth-quarter dividend payments--of 10 cents and 18 cents, respectively, to coincide with their third-quarter dividend payments. Monro said it would pay its dividend Dec. 21, while DSW said it would now pay Dec. 28.
Luxury retailer Coach Inc. (COH) said its regular quarterly 30 cent per-share dividend will be paid Dec. 27 instead of Jan 2.
American Eagle Outfitters Inc. (AEO) has moved its first-quarter dividend forward to Dec. 28 from April, while Family Dollar Stores Inc. (FDO) moved its second-quarter dividend payment to Dec. 27 from January.
Quality Systems Inc. (QSII) will pay its per-share 17.5 cent quarterly dividend Dec. 28, instead of Jan 4. Meanwhile, Questcor Pharmaceuticals Inc. (QCOR) said it will pay its 20 cent per-share dividend on or about Dec. 21. The dividend would have been paid in the first quarter of next year.
Meridian Bioscience Inc. (VIVO) said it will pay its regular per-share 19 cent dividend on Dec. 24 instead of in February.
Write to Saabira Chaudhuri at email@example.com
Subscribe to WSJ: http://online.wsj.com?mod=djnwires