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Aflac Increases Dividend, Raises Stock Buyback Limit

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The company that created the duck says it will be increasing its dividend on common stock for the 26th consecutive year.

Aflac Inc., Columbus, Ga., says it will be increasing its quarterly cash dividend 17%, to 24 cents per share.

Aflac also is authorizing the purchase of up to 30 million more shares of the company’s stock, on top of a 26 million-share authorization available through an earlier authorization.

Aflac will use its own capital to buy about 12 million shares by March 31, the company says.

Aflac made the announcement at a time when the shareholders of some financial services companies have been speculating about whether recent investment market turmoil will force those companies to reduce or suspend their dividends.

Even after buying back company stock and increasing the dividend, Aflac is “still maintaining very strong capital adequacy ratios to support our ratings,” Aflac Chairman Daniel Amos says in a statement.