The stock is up 3.9% in post market trading after Regal declared a $1 a share special cash dividend, on top of its previously announced 21 cent quarterly payment. The company says that it intends to keep paying that quarterly dividend for the “foreseeable future.” The announcement, which coincides with Regal’s acquisition of the 25-theater Great Escape circuit, demonstrates its “commitment to delivering shareholder value,” CEO Amy Miles says. Regal is just the latest company to award a special dividend before the end of the year when taxes on such payments could change. (For example, Disney raised its dividend yesterday.) Unless there’s a deal in Washington to avoid the so-called “fiscal cliff,” a collection of tax and austerity measures that nobody seems to want, the policy to tax dividends as capital gains will expire. That could raise the rate to 39.6% from 15%. Regal’s $1 payment is “less than we had projected was possible given the low leverage ratio, improving free cash flow trends” and a recent shelf filing, B. Riley & Co analyst Eric Wold says. But it may indicate that Regal has “more acquisitions to come” following the $91M it paid for Great Escape.
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