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NWNL ANNOUNCES DIVIDEND INCREASE, STOCK SPLIT AND DIVIDEND REINVESTMENT PLAN; 1Q TO REFLECT MODEST ONE-TIME CHARGE FOR SFAS NO. 106, 109

 MINNEAPOLIS, April 8 /PRNewswire/ -- The NWNL Companies (NYSE: NWN) today announced that its board of directors has approved an increase in its annual dividend rate, a 2-for-1 stock split and a dividend reinvestment and stock purchase plan.
 The company also announced that it has elected to record a one-time charge of $7.5 million after tax or approximately 50 cents per fully diluted share on a pre-split basis, in the first quarter of 1993 for the adoption of Statement of Financial Accounting Standards (SFAS) No. 106 and No. 109. SFAS No. 106 pertains to the recognition of costs for postretirement health benefits and SFAS No. 109 to the effect of income taxes.
 The company's board of directors declared a regular quarterly dividend of 40 cents per share of common stock (on a pre-split basis) payable on May 14 to shareholders of record at the close of business on April 26.
 This dividend represents an increase of 3 cents per share, or 8.1 percent, in the quarterly dividend rate over 1992 and makes NWNL's indicated annual dividend rate $1.60 per share on a pre-split basis. When the 2-for-1 stock split becomes effective next month, the new quarterly dividend rate will be 20 cents per share for an indicated annual dividend rate of 80 cents per share.
 Dividends have been paid by The NWNL Companies and its predecessor, Northwestern National Life Insurance Co., without interruption since 1936. The dividend increase announced today makes 1993 the 22nd consecutive year in which dividends have been increased.
 The 2-for-1 stock split approved by the board will be effected by a distribution on May 21 of one additional share for each common share owned by shareholders of record at the close of business on April 26. NWNL currently has approximately 13.5 million common shares outstanding. Upon payment of the stock split, the number of common shares outstanding will increase to approximately 27 million.
 "We believe that this 2-for-1 split will make it easier for retail investors to purchase our stock," said John Turner, NWNL chairman, president and chief executive officer. "By increasing the number of shares outstanding, all of our shareholders should benefit from the wider distribution of the company's common stock."
 The company's 1992 Annual Report, its Annual Report on Form 10-K and the Proxy Statement for its 1993 Annual Meeting were published and distributed prior to today's board action approving the stock split. Each of these documents contains references to numbers of shares outstanding and other share data, all of which are presented on a pre- split basis. In each instance, the number of shares and other share data should be adjusted to give effect to the split.
 The board of directors also approved a dividend reinvestment and optional cash payment plan that will enable shareholders with 50 or more shares (post-split) to reinvest their cash dividends and make optional cash purchases of additional shares of the company's common stock at a reduced cost.
 All shares purchased through the plan will be offered to shareholders at a discount from a market-based purchase price. Initially, the discount will be 4 percent. In addition, no brokerage commissions or service fees will be incurred by participating shareholders in connection with the purchase of new shares under the plan.
 "We're very pleased that we will be offering this program in that it represents a benefit both to our shareholders and the company," Turner said. "Our goal is for the plan to encourage and reward long-term accumulation of the stock by small and large shareholders alike. At the same time, it will provide the company with a modest but steady flow of new equity capital to be used for our strategic growth plans."
 Eligible shareholders may also invest monthly in additional shares of common stock at the same discount from the market-based purchase price by making optional cash payments ranging from a monthly minimum of $50 to a monthly maximum of $3000 or 50 cents per share held, whichever is greater. The offering will be made only by prospectus and is expected to be made after the stock split is effected.
 The $7.5 million first quarter charge that NWNL will record is the combined effect of a one-time charge of approximately $9.0 million for SFAS No. 106, "Employers' Accounting for Postretirement Benefits Other Than Pensions," and a one-time benefit of $1.5 million for SFAS No. 109, "Accounting for Income Taxes." The adoption of the new accounting standards does not affect the company's cash flows or the ability to pay dividends.
 The NWNL Companies is a Minneapolis-based holding company specializing in the life and health insurance and annuity businesses.
 -0- 4/8/93
 /CONTACT: Ruth Weber of NWNL, 612-372-5628/
 (NWN)


CO: The NWNL Companies ST: Minnesota IN: INS SU: DIV

KH -- MN006 -- 4164 04/08/93 10:59 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Apr 8, 1993
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