Johnson & Johnson hikes quarterly dividend 7 percent

AP News
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Posted: Apr 23, 2015 3:06 PM

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Johnson & Johnson on Thursday said it's raising its quarterly dividend by 7 percent, marking its 53rd straight year of dividend increases.

The world's biggest maker of health care products announced the increase, from 70 cents per share to 75 cents per share, at its 127th annual shareholders meeting, held in New Brunswick, New Jersey, where J&J is based.

Meanwhile, attendees and other shareholders voted to approve the company's executive compensation policy and elect CEO Alex Gorsky and 10 other current board members to new one-year terms, with each measure drawing backing from more than 95 percent of votes cast.

Two proposals made by shareholders were defeated, with at least 95 percent of shares voted against them. One would have limited the responsibilities of board members "overextended" due to serving on several other corporate boards, and another would make J&J stop making political contributions to groups not aligned with its professed corporate values, including promoting green energy.

A third shareholder proposal, to have separate people serve as company CEO and board chairman, also failed, but drew 36.5 percent of votes cast.

The dividend is payable on June 9 to shareholders of record on May 26.

Gorsky credited "our 2014 results, strong financial position and confidence in the future of Johnson & Johnson" in announcing the increase.

The maker of Band-Aids, prescription drugs and medical devices has 127,000 employees at more than 265 operating companies around the world.

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