CHICAGO A steel wire
manufacturer and a steel processor have each moved up dividend
payments, part of a trend among publicly held companies to
allow shareholders to avoid a possible tax increase next year,
according to an equities research firm.
The board of directors of steel
processor, distributor and diversified manufacturer Worthington
Industries Inc. has declared an accelerated third- and
fourth-quarter cash dividend totaling 26 cents per common
share. The dividend, payable Dec. 28 to shareholders of record
Dec. 21, is in addition to the dividend announced Sept. 26 by
the Columbus, Ohio-based company.
Last week, the board of Insteel
Industries Inc., Mount Airy, N.C., which makes steel wire
reinforcing products, declared a special cash dividend of 25
cents per share on Insteels common stock payable Dec. 28
to shareholders of record Dec. 19. The special dividend is in
addition to Insteels regular quarterly cash dividend of 3
cents per share declared Nov. 13 and also payable Dec. 28.
"We elected to make this payment
before the end of the year in view of the ongoing uncertainty
surrounding future dividend tax rates," H.O. Woltz III, Insteel
president and chief executive officer, said in a statement.
A dividend tax increase is a
major concern for investors as the fiscal cliff approaches,
according to Five Star Equities, a St. Kitts and Nevis-based
Major companies, such as
Wal-Mart Stores Inc., have declared special dividends or have
moved up quarterly dividend payments "in attempts to avoid the
looming tax increase," it said.
Firms as diverse as truck
manufacturer Paccar Inc. and the Chicago Board Options Exchange
also have done so, AMM research shows.
The current top tax rate on
dividends of 15 percent, set during the second Bush
administration, are set to expire in January. If lawmakers fail
to take action, dividends will be taxed at the same level as
wages in 2013, Five Star Equities said.