Bloomberg reports that Apple, who has $81.6 billion in cash and investments on hand, will probably issue a “significant” dividend next year. This is according to Howard Ward of Gamco Investors, Inc.
While the company has increased net income every year since at least 2002, Cupertino, California-based Apple hasn’t paid out cash to shareholders. The stock has jumped 53-fold since the end of 2002 after former Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs transformed the Mac maker into a producer of mobile phones and tablet computers. Jobs, who died in October, was replaced as CEO in August by Tim Cook.
“We’re going to see a dividend announced for Apple at some point in the first half of 2012,” Ward, a money manager who helps oversee about $36.1 billion for Gamco Investors Inc., said in an interview today with “Street Smart” on Bloomberg Television. “That could easily be a 3 percent dividend-yielding stock or even higher.”
Steve Dowling, an Apple spokesman, declined to comment.
Apple offered a quarterly dividend to its investors from mid-1987 to the end of 1995, when the company began to run into problems. The company has since turned itself around and has become one of the largest companies in the world. So far, the company has held onto its profits for its own uses.
Apple has always argued that its large cash on hand amount gives it a unique ability to make long term deals at favorable terms. Calls for the company to return some of the money to investors have been on the rise. It remains to be seen if CEO Tim Cook will agree.