GE Boosts Dividend 20%, Extends Buyback Plan

In a move signaling some recovery from the 2008-2009 financial crisis, General Electric said its board approved a 20 percent increase in its dividend and extended its stock repurchase plan.

The increase in GE's dividend, which came earlier than many had anticipated, raises the quarterly payment to 12 cents per share from 10 cents per share.

The board said the next dividend would be paid on October 25 to shareholders of record at the close of business on Sept. 30.

Separately, the company said it will extend its existing stock buyback program, which would have expired on Dec. 31, through 2013.

Repurchases under the existing $15 billion repurchase plan were suspended on Sept. 25, 2008. The plan currently has about $11.6 billion in repurchases remaining under the current authorization.

GE, which is the parent of CNBC, said it will resume repurchases under the plan this quarter.

"We are able to restore the GE dividend at a historical payout level for 2010 earlier than previously anticipated and to extend our share buyback program because of continued strong cash generation, recovery at GE Capital, and solid underlying performance in our industrial businesses through the first half of 2010," GE Chief Jeff Immelt said, in a written statement.

GE has been working to make GE Capital a smaller specialty finance company, and said progress on this front provided the flexibility to boost he dividend and resume stock buybacks. GE said even with this move it still has the financial flexibility for "strategic and financially attractive inorganic growth opportunities."