A: In 2007, the CIRI Board of Directors adopted an equity-based dividend policy, with dividend payments in any given year equal to 3.5 percent of the company’s total shareholders’ equity calculated as of Dec. 31 of the prior year. Under this policy, dividends paid for the first three quarters of the year are approximately 24 percent of the total, and the fourth quarter payment is approximately 28 percent of the total. In addition to paying a stable stream of dividends to shareholders, one of the goals of the new policy was to be able to announce the dates and amounts of the dividends as early as possible in the year so shareholders could plan ahead.
The higher amount of the fourth quarter dividend reflects CIRI’s former tradition of paying a “Christmas dividend” prior to the holiday season. CIRI processes the fourth quarter dividends in early December, to allow time for as many shareholders as possible to receive the payments early in the holiday season.