Health insurance provider WellPoint (NYSE: WLP ) declared it was raising its dividend 30%, to $0.375 a share, as part of an overall plan to return capital worth approximately $2 billion to shareholders in 2013.
The new quarterly rate, up from $0.2875 per share, will be effective with the first quarter ,and will be payable on March 25 to holders of record on March 8. It represents an annualized dividend of $1.50 per share, which yields approximately 2.4% based on yesterday's closing price. WellPoint initiated its dividend in 2011 at a rate of $0.25 per share.
The company spent $2.9 billion on share repurchases and dividends in 2012, and plans to use the same capital deployment formula to achieve its goals this year. The $2 billion total represents more than 10% of WellPoint's market cap.