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Columbus McKinnon raises dividend by 20 percent, plans share buyback

Columbus McKinnon Corp. is raising its dividend by 20 percent and launching a program to buy back as much as $20 million of its stock.

The Amherst-based material handling equipment maker said Tuesday that the higher dividend and the buyback program stem from the company's improved cash flow and lower debt load as earnings from its operations have improved.

The company is raising its quarterly dividend by a penny to 6 cents per share. The dividend is payable on May 13 to shareholders of record on May 3.

"Our financial strength and confidence in our future were central to the board’s decision to increase our dividend 20 percent.” said Mark Morelli, Columbus McKinnon's president and CEO.

"Cash generation has been very strong while return on invested capital has also improved. We have measurably reduced debt resulting in a solid balance sheet that offers financial flexibility," he said in a statement.  “While we are committed to continuing to reduce debt, we believe the new share repurchase plan is also an important element of a disciplined capital allocation strategy providing us another means to return capital to shareholders when prudent.”

Columbus McKinnon has reduced its debt load by 25 percent since the end of March. Its cash flow has nearly doubled over the last four years.

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