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After a gap of a year, Ryder System Inc. (R - Analyst Report) has announced a dividend hike to 34 cents per share from the previous 31 cents. This translates into a 9.7% increase from the last hike in Jul 2012.

With this revision, the annual dividend has gone up to $1.36 from $1.24 earlier. The increased dividend will be paid on Sep 20, 2013 to stockholders of record on Aug 19. This marks Ryder’s 148th consecutive quarterly cash dividend payment over the last 37 years.

This leading integrated logistics and transportation solutions service provider remains committed to enhance its shareholders’ wealth through consistent dividend hikes. The company displays a strong balance sheet and cash flow that assist in incremental dividend and other endeavors.

At the end of the first quarter, Ryder had cash and cash equivalents of $76.5 million compared with $66.4 at year-end 2012. Cash from operations was $249.0 million in the quarter compared with $186.0 million in the year-ago quarter.

Ryder will release its second quarter 2013 financial results on Jul 23, 2013, before the opening bell. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings currently stands at $1.22 per share for the quarter. The estimate reflects a year-over-year growth of 22.10%.

We believe that the favorable industry fundamentals along with improved average fleet age, prospects in rental business and better financials will help the company’s performance in the near future. The company also targets capturing more market share by deploying a fuel-efficient fleet and enhanced services.

Recently, Ryder unveiled its two new natural gas fueling stations at Orange and Fontana in California. These happen to be the earliest such stations in the company’s North American network and will be utilized to serve both the public as well as lease and rental customers.

Ryder System operates with the likes of American Railcar Industries Inc. (ARII - Snapshot Report), FLY Leasing Limited (FLY - Snapshot Report) and The Greenbrier Companies Inc. (GBX - Snapshot Report). The stock presently holds a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).

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