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More W.Pa. companies jump on early dividend bandwagon

| Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012, 11:00 a.m.

Four more companies in Western Pennsylvania will reward their shareholders before the end of the month on the expectation that taxes on dividends will rise next year.

Dick's Sporting Goods Inc., Mine Safety Appliances Co., HFF Inc. and FedFirst Financial Corp. said their shareholders will be paid a special cash dividend this month.

Findlay-based Dick's Sporting Goods will pay a one-time cash dividend of $2 a share on Dec. 28. The payment is in addition to the announced quarterly dividend of 12.5 cents a share.

Cranberry-based Mine Safety Appliances, a maker of safety equipment and systems, said it will pay a one-time dividend of 28 cents a share on that same date.

“By issuing this special dividend, we see this as an opportunity to generate greater value for our shareholders given the expectation of higher tax rates in 2013,” CEO William Lambert said.

HFF, a Downtown-based company that provides commercial real estate and capital market services, said last week that it will pay a one-time dividend of $1.52 a share on Dec. 20.

And FedFirst Financial, parent of First Federal Savings Bank in Monessen, said its one-time dividend of 25 cents a share will be paid on Friday.

“Given the potential increase in tax rates on dividends beginning next year, our high levels of capital, and the strong results we have posted through the first nine months of the year, our board of directors determined that it is an appropriate time to provide this special dividend distribution to our shareholders,” FedFirst CEO Patrick O'Brien said.

The moves are the latest among a string of national and local companies that have announced special dividends or pushed up dividend payments to December on concerns that taxes on those payments will nearly triple in 2013.

The tax rate on dividends of 15 percent will automatically rise to 43.4 percent next month unless Congress acts to stop it.

American Eagle Outfitters Inc. said on Tuesday that it will push up payment of two quarterly dividends from next year to this month. The South Side-based clothing retailer said it will pay a cash dividend of 22 cents a share on Dec. 28, accelerating dividends of 11 cents each that would have been paid in January and April next year.

Mastech Holdings Inc., a Findlay-based provider of information technology staffing services, said on Nov. 29 that it would pay a $2 per share special dividend on Dec. 21.

And Commercial National Financial Corp. in Latrobe said on Nov. 27 that it would pay a one-time dividend of $1 a share, in addition to its regular dividend of 26 cents, on Friday.

Alex Nixon is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7928 or anixon@tribweb.com.

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