North State to pay dividend
North State Communications is paying a dividend to shareholders that’s the largest amount in at least nine years and nearly double the next greatest dividend level paid since the fall of 2003.
The High Point-based utility and telecommunications company recently indicated it would pay a dividend of $2.60. The dividend is payable Dec. 31 to shareholders of record as of Dec. 24, according to dividend information obtained by The High Point Enterprise.
The previous high mark for a dividend level to North State shareholders was $1.65 payable on Sept. 1, 2004. The majority of North State dividend payments in the past nine years have been $1.30, according to the information obtained by the Enterprise. The $2.60 dividend payout is provided to both Class A and Class B North State shareholders, the company says.
“North State works hard to provide value to our shareholders,” said Royster Tucker III, president and chief operating officer of the company.
The higher-than-normal dividend payout takes place as North State announces that it signed a deal to sell its wireless operations to AT&T for $23.5 million. The wireless transaction is expected to close during the first half of 2013.
The dividend payout also happens as dissident shareholders of North State resume their pressure on the company’s management to sell the business founded 117 years ago as a local telephone exchange in High Point. In November, a California-based shareholder, who has sought the sale of North State for the past three years, wrote the company asking for a reconsideration of the idea. Once again, company management responded that it is satisfied with the direction of North State under the current ownership.
When asked by the Enterprise Thursday about the timing of the $2.60 dividend payout, or the total amount that would be paid to shareholders through the new dividend, North State indicated it “would have no further statement.”
North State plays a key role in the local economy, ranking among High Point’s top 20 largest employers and serving as one of the city’s major corporate headquarters. The company also plays a role as a corporate citizen for charitable causes, such as co-sponsoring the recent annual Fox 8 Gifts for Kids drive to collect gifts for underprivileged children at Christmastime.
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