There is seasonality. This is discussed in detail in the Connecticut Comments piece which somebody already referenced. Also discussed there is the fact that the buying ahead of the price increase would have occurred in Q4, not Q1, explaining the slight revenue decline in Q1
This company is looking terrific in all respects. The reduction in commodity prices should be an additional help to the numbers later this year. Based on the Q1 results, and understanding the seasonality, the chance of a special dividend this year has increased IMHO. I happen to think that the chance of a buyout has also increased, though nobody should buy the stock for that reason alone. Fortunately, the fundamentals more than justify purchase at current levels. I added another 10K shares after seeing the results.
I intended to say that about 360K of the 500K had not been spent as of the end of 2012. It is possible that some of the remaining amount was spent in Q1 without negatively affecting the balance sheet as it appears in the Annual Report. To that extent, the chance of a dividend increase is greater than if the entire 360K is yet ot be spent. We'll know more when the Q1 balance sheet and related documents are released.
I doubt that the delayed announcement indicates anything significant. The ex-dividend date in the past has been very late in March. There was no good reason that i can fathom to have announced the dividend 7 or 8 weeks before ex-div. My guess is that they simply adjusted the announcement date to be around 2-3 weeks ahead of ex-div, as is far more typical. I would only get concerned if we get no annoucement by the middle of the month, though I doubt that will happen.