Automaker Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) doubled its first-quarter dividend on strong balance sheet, higher liquidity and positive business performance, sending its shares up 2.97% in premarket.
The company will pay a quarterly dividend of $0.10 per share on its Class B and common stock, up 100% from the previous rate of $0.05 per share. The dividend is payable on March 1, to shareholders of record on January 30.
The company said its intention is to "grow its dividend, consistent with earnings and liquidity growth, to a level that is sustainable through all business cycles."
Ford raised its liquidity position by $2 billion through the first three quarters of 2012 and generated 10 consecutive quarters of positive Automotive operating-related cash flow.
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On January 3, the automaker reported a 1.9% increase in December U.S. sales due to higher demand for fuel-efficient vehicles as well as strong demand for vehicles like Focus, Fiesta, Taurus, Mustang, Explorer, and Heavy Trucks.
Total vehicles for the month of December increased to 214,222 units from 210,140 units. Sales from Ford brand grew 2.5% to 206,838 vehicles, while Lincoln sales fell 12.1% to 7,384 vehicles.
F closed Wednesday's regular session at $13.47. The stock has been trading between $8.82 and $13.69 for the past 52 weeks.