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Westfield Group announces interim dividend

Australian property group Westfield Group (ASX: WDC) has continued with its commitment to increase shareholder returns, with the company last week announcing a 25.5c interim dividend for the six months ending 30 June 2013.

The dividend compares to the 24.75c dividend paid in the previous corresponding period, with the group expecting to increase its total dividend payouts to 51c per security for the 2013 calendar year – a 3% increase from the 49.5c per share recorded in 2012.

Although the company faced scrutiny earlier in the year regarding the pay packages for Westfield’s senior executives, the company has certainly maintained a heavy focus on increasing shareholder value. It has achieved this through the increase in dividend payouts as well as through its daily share buy-back program, in which it repurchased over $1 billion worth of securities.

Since the global financial crisis, the company has realised the need to strengthen its property portfolio by divesting in less profitable stores and using the funds to expand or redevelop its more profitable ones. The funds obtained have also allowed for the increased shareholder returns.

Foolish takeaway

Whilst Westfield has already proven itself as a powerhouse in the property sector, the company also maintains excellent growth potential. In addition, the 51c payout per share gives the company a 4.6% dividend yield, which is an excellent return by any measure. Currently valued at $11.21, Westfield could be an excellent addition to your portfolio.

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Motley Fool contributor Ryan Newman does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article.

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