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Somewhat quietly, Emera Inc. (OTCPK:EMRAF) announced a 15% increase to its quarterly dividend, which now pays shareholders 32.5 cents every four months. The bump is the firm’s second in the past year.

Looking back over the company’s payout history, it looks like Emera's dividend sets a new high for the amount returned to shareholders.

Analysts expected an increase would come, but some, like RBC Dominion Securities’ Robert Kwan, did not think it would happen this soon, or would be this big.

However, Mr. Kwan noted the increase makes sense because Emera has publicly stated that it has a target payout ratio of 70 to 75% of earnings per share. In 2009 the energy and services firm's payout ratio came in at 65% and RBC expects the recent bump to bring the firm more in line with its target range.

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Source: Emera: Dividend Hike Marks New High