Dividend Changes: Ashland, KeyCorp, United-Guardian, Marsh & McLennan Companies, Williams Companies

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Ashland Inc. (NYSE:ASH): The board of directors of Ashland has declared a quarterly cash dividend of 22.5c per share on the company’s common stock. This represents a 29% increase from the previous quarterly dividend and is equivalent to an annual dividend of 90c per share. The dividend is payable June 15, to shareholders of record at the close of business on June 1. As of March 31, there were 78,467,329 shares of Ashland common stock outstanding. “This dividend increase reflects the board’s continued confidence in the strategic direction of the company, as well our ability to generate cash and deliver strong financial performance for shareholders,” said James J. O’Brien, Ashland chairman and CEO.

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KeyCorp (NYSE:KEY) announced that its board declared a quarterly cash dividend of 5c per share on the company’s common stock, up from 3c in the previous quarter. The dividend was declared on May 16, and is payable on June 15 to shareholders of record at the close of business on May 29.

United-Guardian Inc. (NASDAQ:UG) announced that the company’s Board of Directors, at its meeting on May 16, declared a cash dividend of 42c per share, which will be paid on June 18 to all stockholders of record as of the close of business on June 4. This represents a 17% increase over the 36c per share semi-annual dividend paid in the first half of 2011.

Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc. (NYSE:MMC) announced that its board voted to increase the company’s quarterly cash dividend by 5% to 23c per share on outstanding common stock. The dividend is payable on August 15 to shareholders of record on July 11.

Williams Companies, Inc. (NYSE:WMB) board of directors has approved a regular dividend of 30c on the company’s common stock, payable June 25, to holders of record at the close of business on June 8. The increase over the previous amount of 25.875c per share is consistent with the company’s previously announced plan to increase its dividend more frequently with increases every quarter. Williams continues to expect a full-year 2012 dividend to shareholders of $1.20 per share. The planned 2012 dividend is a 55% increase over the full-year 2011 dividend to shareholders of 77.5c per share. The company also continues to expect an increase of its dividend by 20% in both 2013 and 2014.

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