Columbia, SC, February 17, 2005 - SCANA Corporation (NYSE: SCG) announced that its board of directors, at a meeting held today, raised the quarterly cash dividend on the Company's common stock to 39 cents per share from 36 1/2 cents per share, an increase of 6.8 percent. This action increases the indicated annual dividend rate to $1.56 per share from $1.46 per share. The Company has increased the annual dividend rate on its common stock for six consecutive years and in 51 of the last 53 years. The new dividend is payable April 1, 2005 to stockholders of record at the close of business on March 10, 2005 for the quarter ending March 31, 2005.
Kevin Marsh, senior vice president and chief financial officer, noted that the board also authorized a change in the Company's targeted dividend payout ratio from a range of 50-55 percent to 55-60 percent of earnings. "In 1999, we lowered the Company's annual dividend from $1.54 per share to $1.10 per share," said Marsh. "That action reduced the percentage of earnings we were paying out in dividends from 70-75 percent to 50-55 percent, providing additional cash to help fund our planned electric generation expansion program."
With the commercial operation of the Jasper County Electric Generating Station in May 2004, SCANA completed a 5-year, $770 million generation expansion program that included the addition of approximately 1,200 MW of new gas-fired generation and the conversion of 150 MW of coal-fired generation to exhaust heat produced by natural gas turbines. The only other large capital project still underway is construction of the $275 million back-up dam at Lake Murray, which is scheduled to be completed this spring.
"We believe an indicated annual dividend of $1.56 per share is competitive and should provide a fair return to our shareholders for their continued trust and support. Going forward, our goal will be to increase the annual dividend at a rate that is consistent with the growth in the Company's core earnings while maintaining a 55– 60 percent payout ratio," said Marsh.
The board of directors also declared the regular quarterly dividends on the following series of cumulative preferred stock of South Carolina Electric & Gas Company (SCE&G), SCANA's principal subsidiary, for the quarter ending March 31, 2005:
$50 Par Value:
- 56 1/4 cents per share on the 4.50 percent Series
- 57 1/2 cents per share on the 4.60 percent Series A
- 57 1/2 cents per share on the 4.60 percent Series B
- 62 1/2 cents per share on the 5 percent Series
- 64 1/16 cents per share on the 5.125 percent Series
- 75 cents per share on the 6 percent Series
$100 Par Value:
- $1.63 per share on the 6.52 percent Series
Dividends on each series of SCE&G's cumulative preferred stock are also payable April 1, 2005 to holders of record on March 10, 2005. The 5 percent Series is the only series of cumulative preferred stock that is listed on the New York Stock Exchange - the trading symbol is "SAC Pr."
SCANA Corporation, a Fortune 500 company headquartered in Columbia, SC, is an energy-based holding company principally engaged, through subsidiaries, in electric and natural gas utility operations and other energy-related businesses. Information about SCANA is available on the Company's Web Site at www.scana.com.