General Motors to pay first quarterly dividend in almost six years

DETROIT (REUTERS) - General Motors Co (GM) will pay the first quarterly dividend on its common stock in almost six years, marking another step in the United States (US) automaker's recovery from its bankruptcy in 2009.

The No. 1 US automaker, which last paid a dividend in June 2008 before it moved to save money during the US recession, said it will pay shareholders a quarterly dividend of 30 US cents (38 Singapore cents) a share, payable on March 28 to shareholders of record on March 18. In 2008, its quarterly dividend was 25 US cents a share.

Investors have been pushing GM to return cash to them in the form of a dividend or a stock buyback, especially since the US Treasury sold the last of its stake in the company last month.

The dividend reintroduction by GM, which is showing new cars and trucks this week at the Detroit auto show, is likely to attract investors who buy stocks that generate income.

Weak industry demand drove GM to seek bankruptcy protection in 2009 and it emerged as a leaner operation with more cash on hand with the help of a US$49.5 billion US taxpayer bailout.

GM already pays a dividend on preferred stock. Rival US automaker Ford Motor Co resumed paying a common dividend in March 2012 after suspending it for more than five and a half years.