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Essent Group (ESNT) Announces Dividend Hike, Share Repurchase

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Essent Group Ltd. ESNT announced that its board of directors sequentially hiked the quarterly cash dividend by 5% to 21 cents per common share. The dividend will be paid out on Jun 10 to shareholders of record as of Jun 1, 2022.

Prior to this, ESNT hiked its dividend by 5.2% to 20 cents per share this February. We believe that such disbursements highlight the company’s operational strength and commitment to enhance shareholder wealth.

Considering the last day’s closing price of $41.15, Essent Group’s dividend yield currently stands at 2.04%. The yield is also significantly impressive compared with the industry average of 2.09%. Not only is the yield attractive for income investors, but it also represents a steady income stream.

Dividend hikes aside, Essent Group’s board of directors has also authorized a share repurchase plan of up to $250 million of the company’s common shares through Dec 31, 2023. Prior to this, the company completed a repurchase program in April 2022.

Essent Group exited first-quarter 2022 with a cash balance of $203.8 million, up from the 2021-end level of $81.5 million.

The company reported first-quarter 2022 earnings per share of $2.52, which improved from $184 in the prior-year quarter. Total revenues of $264.6 million improved 8% year over year on higher income from other invested assets.

Thus, given a robust liquidity position and decent earnings strength, the company is expected to continue with efficient capital deployment activities. By carrying out the same, it will keep enhancing shareholder value.

Over the past year, shares of ESNT have declined 14.5% compared with a 36.9% fall of the industry it belongs to.

Zacks Investment Research
Zacks Investment Research


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ESNT currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Other Companies Taking Similar Steps

Over the past few months, several companies have rewarded their shareholders with dividend hikes. Some of these are BankUnited, Inc. BKU and Glacier Bancorp, Inc. GBCI.

BankUnited declared a quarterly cash dividend of 25 cents per share, marking a 9% increase from the prior payout. The dividend was paid out on Apr 29 to shareholders of record as of Apr 14.

Prior to this, BKU announced a 10% dividend hike in February 2020. This marked the first time the company announced an increase in its quarterly dividend. Before that, the bank used to pay 21 cents per share as a quarterly dividend.

Glacier Bancorp declared a quarterly dividend of 33 cents per share, representing a 3.1% hike from the prior payout. The dividend was paid out on Apr 21 to its stockholders of record as of Apr 12, 2022.

This marks the company’s 148th consecutive quarterly dividend. GBCI has hiked its dividend 49 times.


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