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IDEX Corporation (IEX - Analyst Report), a diversified manufacturer of industrial goods, recently announced a 15% year-over-year hike in its dividend payout to a quarterly payment of 23 cents or 92 cents per share on an annualized basis. The increased cash dividend is payable on Apr 30 to shareholders of record as of Apr 19.

Based on the closing price of $51.96 on Apr 9, 2013, the proposed dividend affirms a yield of 1.8% and marks the 74th consecutive quarterly cash dividend payment by the company. A steady dividend payout is part of the long-term strategy of IDEX to provide attractive risk-adjusted returns to its stockholders. In addition, decent dividend increases at periodic intervals have been one of the company’s most attractive features.

IDEX had earlier raised the quarterly dividend payout from 17 cents to 20 cents per share or from 68 cents to 80 cents on an annualized basis in Apr 2012. Prior to that, IDEX raised its quarterly dividend in Apr 2011 from 15 cents to 17 cents per share and in Apr 2010 from 12 cents to 15 cents per share.

The recent dividend hike is on the heels of strong quarterly and annual results, with adjusted earnings well above the Zacks Consensus Estimates. The superior performance was primarily attributable to high productivity and stringent cost-cutting measures. IDEX also has a share repurchase program in place, under which it repurchased shares worth $89.6 million in 2012. In Oct 2012, the company further increased its share repurchase program by $200 million. Over the years, IDEX has consistently returned significant cash to its shareholders through dividends and share repurchases.

IDEX manufactures a wide array of pumps, flow meters and other fluidics systems and components and engineered products for customers in different markets around the world. The company is a world leader in fluid-handling technologies for positive displacement pumps, dispensing equipment for color formulation, and other highly engineered products, including fire suppression equipment, rescue tools, and stainless steel custom banding.  

IDEX presently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Other companies in the industry that are worth mentioning include Altra Holdings, Inc. (AIMC - Snapshot Report), The Babcock & Wilcox Company (BWC - Snapshot Report), and EnPro Industries, Inc. (NPO - Snapshot Report), each carrying a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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