Things have been changing quickly for General Motors (NYSE:GM) after the U.S. Treasury finished selling off the last of its ownership in the once troubled automaker. In the latest string of headlines, today General Motors' Board of Directors declared a quarterly dividend of $0.30 per share on its common stock; it's the first dividend for the current General Motors, and/or the "previous" company that declared bankruptcy, since May, 2008. The dividend will be payable March 28 to all common shareholders on record as of March 18.
The news immediately sent General Motors stock up more than 3% in after-hours trading and is further proof the company is slowly but surely distancing itself from the depths of the Great Recession that brought the company to its knees. As of the third quarter of 2013, General Motors has recorded 15 straight profitable quarters where it generated more than $16 billion in adjusted automotive free cash flow. The largest Detroit automaker also boasts total automotive liquidity of more than $37 billion.
As of closing prices on Tuesday, GM's reinstated dividend is a yield of 2.99% and is right in line with crosstown rival Ford's (NYSE:F) dividend yield of 3.04%. General Motors believes this to be a sustainable dividend with its improving business.
"Our fortress balance sheet, substantial liquidity, consistent earnings and strong cash flow provide the foundation for an ongoing payout." Said Dan Ammann, GM executive vice president and chief financial officer, in a press release. "This return to shareholders is consistent with our capital priorities and is an important signal of confidence in our plans for a continuing profitable future."
Fool contributor Daniel Miller owns shares of Ford and General Motors. The Motley Fool recommends Ford and General Motors and owns shares of Ford. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.