ONEOK ANNUAL MEETING PRECEDES DIVIDEND INCREASE
ONEOK ANNUAL MEETING PRECEDES DIVIDEND INCREASE TULSA, Okla., Jan 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Directors of ONEOK Inc.
(NYSE: OKE), a Tulsa-based energy company, today declared a quarterly dividend of 25 cents per share on common stock, 19 percent more than the 21-cent dividend paid in each of four previous quarters.
J. D. Scott, chairman of the board, president and CEO, said that the higher dividend will more appropriately place ONEOK among its peers in the industry. He noted that ONEOK did not pay dividends on its common stock for three quarters during 1988. The board also declared a quarterly dividend of 59.375 cents per share on preferred stock, unchanged from the previous quarter. Both dividends are payable Feb. 14 to shareholders of record Jan. 31. At the annual meeting preceding the monthly board meeting, shareholders reelected four board members to new three-year terms: S. J. Jatras, retired chairman, Memorex Telex Corporation, Tulsa; Douglas Ann Newsom, Ph.D. and journalism professor, Texas Christian University, Fort Worth; J. C. Tucker, builder and land developer, La Grange, Georgia; and J. E. Tyree, consultant, Tulsa. During the shareholders meeting, Scott said the company would complete on Friday its latest long-term financing, $40 million in 12- year, 8.44-percent debentures. The long-term, privately placed debt will replace short-term debt. Scott told his audience that the company has the resources, particularly human resources, to meet the competitive pressures prevalent in today's natural gas industry. "ONEOK is ahead of the curve," he said, in being able to meet what will be increasing demand for natural gas, partly because of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. He also said that use of compressed natural gas as a vehicle fuel is growing and that about 640 vehicles within Oklahoma will soon be operating on CNG, with potential for 2,000 more CNG vehicle conversions within two years. Scott said that a $63.9 million utility rate increase requested last month -- with half sought now as an interim increase -- is clearly justified because the utility's return on equity was 6 percent in 1991 compared with the 13.5 percent maximum authorized in 1987. Since then, he said, investment to serve utility customers has exceeded $200 million on which the company is not earning a proper return. While the company has reduced its nonutility 1992 drilling budget from $16 million to $8 million, Scott emphasized that "this is only a pause" due to currently disappointing natural gas prices. ONEOK will step up the pace with "more promising pricing signals." Scott also commented on the industry's regulatory environment, saying that much of the industry's recent trouble resulted from the Natural Gas Policy Act of 1978, which imposed tremendous changes in the name of deregulation. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is considering sweeping new industry deregulation, he said, that is really a "massive change in the rules of the game -- but not deregulation." He added that some of the rules will be harsh for many industry segments. "In the longer term, we have a concern about the security of supply -- and cost -- to the consumer," Scott said. -0- 1/16/92 /CONTACT: Walt Radmilovich or Weldon Watson of ONEOK, 918-588-7000/ (OKE) CO: ONEOK Inc. ST: Oklahoma IN: OIL SU: DIV FC -- NY076 -- 0624 01/16/92 15:07 EST
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|Date:||Jan 16, 1992|
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