Small Cap Sector Shines: Dividend Increases Soar in Q2 2023 with Notable Performers

Smith & Wesson increases their dividend last quarter, Q2 2023, and these 19 other companies announced the same plan



Industry: Aerospace & Defense

Smith & Wesson Brands, Inc. (NASDAQ: SWBI), a leading U.S. firearm manufacturer, recently reported its financial results for the fourth quarter and full fiscal year 2023, which ended on April 30, 2023. Despite facing challenges in the first half of the fiscal year due to elevated channel inventory, Smith & Wesson Brands, Inc. saw improvements in the fourth quarter. Net sales for the fourth quarter were $144.8 million, showing a decrease of 20.1% compared to the same quarter last year. Gross margin was 29.0%, down from 39.8% in the previous year's comparable quarter.

The decline in sales and profits prompted Smith & Wesson Brands, Inc. to optimize its operations and focus on reducing inventory levels throughout the year, resulting in five consecutive quarters of inventory reductions in the distribution channel. This strategy helped the company maintain its leadership position in the firearm consumer market and indicated continued success throughout fiscal year 2024.

Moreover, as the relocation of Smith & Wesson Brands, Inc. is nearing its final phase, the board of directors authorized a significant increase in dividends. The company increased its dividend to $0.12 per share quarterly, a move likely motivated by improved financial stability, anticipated increased shipments in fiscal 2024, and the decline in inventory levels in the distribution channel. The dividend will be paid to stockholders of record on July 13, 2023, with payment to be made on July 27, 2023.

Smith & Wesson Brands, Inc., formerly American Outdoor Brands Corporation, is a manufacturer of firearms and a provider of accessory products for the shooting, hunting, and outdoor enthusiast. The company operates through two segments. The Firearms segment manufactures handgun and long gun products sold under Smith & Wesson, M&P, and Thompson/Center Arms brands, as well as providing forging, machining, and precision plastic injection molding services. The Outdoor Products & Accessories segment provides shooting, hunting, and outdoor accessories, including reloading, gunsmithing, gun cleaning supplies, tree saws, vault accessories, knives, laser sighting systems, and tactical lighting products. Brands in Outdoor Products & Accessories include Crimson Trace, Caldwell Shooting Supplies, Wheeler Engineering, Lockdown Vault Accessories, BOG POD, and Golden Rod Moisture Control, as well as knives and specialty tools under Schrade, Old Timer, Uncle Henry, and Imperial.


Industry: Oil & Gas E&P

SandRidge Energy, Inc. made a significant announcement today, reflecting its commitment to shareholder value and financial growth. The Board of Directors of SandRidge Energy, Inc. has decided to increase dividends for its investors. Firstly, a one-time dividend of $2.00 per share has been declared, resulting in a total payout of approximately $74 million. This dividend will be payable on June 7, 2023, to shareholders of record on May 24, 2023. Moreover, SandRidge Energy, Inc. plans to introduce an ongoing quarterly dividend of $0.10 per share, which is expected to commence after the second quarter of 2023, with the first payment anticipated in August 2023.

The decision to increase dividends can be attributed to several factors. SandRidge Energy, Inc. appears to be in a strong financial position, given its approval of a $75 million stock buyback program, which signifies confidence in its future prospects. Additionally, SandRidge Energy, Inc. aims to maintain the flexibility to explore potential value accretive merger and acquisition opportunities that align with its core competencies and asset portfolio. This move may have contributed to investor optimism, prompting the Board to enhance dividend rewards.

SandRidge Energy, Inc. engages in the exploration, development, and production of oil, natural gas, and natural gas liquids primarily in the Mid-Continent and North Park Basin of the United States. As of December 31, 2019, SandRidge Energy, Inc. had 1,013 net producing wells; and approximately 511,000 net acres under lease, as well as total estimated proved reserves of 89.9 million barrels of oil equivalent. The company is headquartered in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. On May 16, 2016, SandRidge Energy, Inc. and its direct and indirect subsidiaries filed voluntary petitions for reorganization under Chapter 11 of its United States Bankruptcy Code in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas.


Industry: Banks—Regional

Norwood Financial Corp (NASDAQ: NWFL), led by President and CEO James O. Donnelly, has recently increased its dividend to $0.29 per share, payable on August 1, 2023, to shareholders of record as of July 14, 2023. This represents a 3.6% increase compared to the cash dividend declared in the second quarter of 2022 and equals the per share dividend declared in the first quarter of 2023.

Mr. Donnelly stated that the decision to increase the dividend reflects Norwood Financial Corp's financial strength and solid performance, driven by its strong capital position. As of March 31, 2023, Norwood Financial Corp had total assets of $2.104 billion, outstanding loans of $1.536 billion, total deposits of $1.756 billion, and total capital of $176.4 million. Operating through its subsidiary Wayne Bank, Norwood Financial Corp operates multiple offices in Northeastern Pennsylvania and several counties in New York.

Norwood Financial Corp. operates as a bank holding company. The company is headquartered in Honesdale, Pennsylvania, and currently employs 203 full-time employees. The firm operates through its subsidiary, Wayne Bank (the Bank). The Bank is a chartered bank and trust company. The Bank is an independent community bank that operates over five offices in Wayne County, approximately three offices in Pike County, four offices in Monroe County, and over three offices in Lackawanna County. The Bank offers various personal and business credit services, trust and investment products, and real estate settlement services to consumers, businesses, nonprofit organizations, and municipalities in each of the communities that the Bank serves. The Bank primarily serves Norwood Financial Corp's Pennsylvania counties of Wayne, Pike, Monroe, and Lackawanna, as well as Susquehanna County. In addition, the Bank operates approximately 20 automated teller machines. The Bank operates a Wealth Management/Trust Department, which provides estate planning, investment management, and financial planning to customers.


Industry: Asset Management

PennantPark Investment Corporation recently reported its financial results for the second quarter ended March 31, 2023. The PennantPark Investment Corporation investment portfolio stood at $1,132.5 million, with net assets totaling $495.7 million. Despite a slight decline in GAAP net asset value per share and adjusted net asset value per share, PennantPark Investment Corporation maintained a strong position, with a GAAP net asset value per share of $7.60 and an adjusted net asset value per share of $7.44.

Following these positive results, PennantPark Investment Corporation announced a significant increase in its quarterly dividend to $0.20 per share, marking an 8.1% increase from the previous distribution. This decision was driven by PennantPark Investment Corporation's solid net investment income, which comfortably covered the higher dividend payout. Chairman and CEO, Arthur Penn, expressed confidence in PennantPark Investment Corporation's ability to capitalize on promising investments, which is expected to enhance future earnings.

Additionally, notable recent developments include a settlement between Dominion Voting Systems (a portfolio company of PennantPark Investment Corporation) and Fox News, with the latter agreeing to pay Dominion $787.5 million as part of the defamation lawsuit settlement. Dominion may distribute a substantial portion of this settlement to its equity holders, including PennantPark Investment Corporation, which could positively impact future cash flows and distributions.

PennantPark Investment Corporation is a business development company. The company specializes in direct and mezzanine investments in middle-market companies. PennantPark Investment Corporation invests in the form of mezzanine debt, senior secured loans, and equity investments. The fund typically invests in building and real estate, hotels, and gaming, electronics, healthcare, education, and childcare, financial services, printing and publishing, consumer products, business services, energy and utilities, distribution, oil and gas, media, environmental services, aerospace and defense, manufacturing industries, and retail. PennantPark Investment Corporation invests in equity securities and debt transactions through preferred stock, common stock, warrants, options, subordinated loans, mezzanine loans, and senior secured loans. The fund seeks to invest in companies based in the United States. PennantPark Investment Corporation seeks to invest between $10 million and $50 million in its portfolio companies. Its mezzanine loans, senior secured loans, and other investments in its portfolio companies are between $15 million and $50 million. The fund may also make non-control equity and debt investments.


Industry: Asset Management

Trinity Capital Inc. (TRIN) recently announced an increase in its dividend payout, providing investors with a regular quarterly dividend of $0.48 per share and an additional supplemental cash dividend of $0.05 per share, amounting to a 2.1% increase over the previous quarter. The decision to increase the dividend was taken by Trinity Capital Inc.'s Board of Directors on June 14, 2023.

The main reason for the dividend increase is to comply with regulated investment company tax requirements for distributing Trinity Capital Inc.'s undistributed taxable income from fiscal 2023. This supplemental dividend will be paid out of Trinity Capital Inc.'s undistributed taxable income as of December 31, 2022. The Company's objective is to distribute four quarterly dividends, totaling approximately 90% to 100% of its taxable quarterly income or potential annual income, in order to qualify for tax treatment as a regulated investment company under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.

It's important to note that dividends from Trinity Capital Inc. are paid from taxable earnings, which may include a return of capital and/or capital gains. The specific tax characteristics of the dividends will be reported to stockholders on Form 1099-DIV after the end of the calendar year and in Trinity Capital Inc.'s periodic reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Trinity Capital Inc. is a venture capital firm specializing in venture debt to growth stage companies looking for loans and/or equipment financing. Trinity Capital Inc. was founded in 2019 is based in Chandler, Arizona.


Industry: Banks—Regional

The First Bancshares, Inc. ("FBMS"), the holding company for The First Bank, reported impressive financial results for the second quarter ended June 30, 2023. Net income available to common shareholders saw a substantial increase of 46.1% compared to the previous quarter, totaling $23.8 million. The positive growth was attributed to various factors, including a modest loan growth of 3.3% on an annualized basis, an expansion in net interest margin of 13 basis points, and an improvement in nonperforming assets.

The Company's decision to increase its quarterly dividend by 5% reflects its confidence in its strong performance and its ability to generate solid core earnings. The dividend increase comes as a reward to shareholders and indicates FBMS's commitment to delivering value to its investors. The move also signals the management's optimism about the future prospects of FBMS and its financial stability.

FBMS has been actively growing its business, as evidenced by the addition of commercial banking teams in St. Petersburg, FL, and New Orleans, LA. This strategic expansion, along with the successful acquisitions of Heritage Bank and Beach Bank, has contributed to the increase in net interest income and overall financial strength.

The First Bancshares, Inc. (Mississippi) operates as a bank holding company. The company is headquartered in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and currently employs 582 full-time employees. The firm and the Bank engage in a general commercial and retail banking business for small to medium-sized businesses, professional concerns, and individuals. The Bank provides a range of banking services across Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, and Georgia. The Bank offers a range of commercial and personal loans. Commercial loans include both secured and unsecured loans for working capital (including loans secured by inventory and accounts receivable), business expansion (including acquisition of real estate and improvements), and purchase of equipment and machinery. The Bank offers a range of deposit services, including noninterest-bearing accounts, negotiable order of withdrawal (NOW) accounts, money market accounts, savings accounts, and time deposits.


Industry: Asset Management

Capital Southwest Corporation ("Capital Southwest" or "the Company") has recently increased its dividend, offering a regular dividend of $0.54 per share and a supplemental dividend of $0.05 per share for the quarter ending June 30, 2023. As an internally managed business development company, Capital Southwest focuses on providing flexible financing solutions to support the acquisition and growth of middle-market businesses.

The decision to increase dividends is likely a result of the Board of Directors' review of estimates of taxable income available for distribution. It's important to note that these estimates may differ from net investment income under generally accepted accounting principles. The final determination of taxable income for the year and tax attributes for dividends will be made after the tax year closes.

Capital Southwest's commitment to shareholder value is evident through its dividend reinvestment plan ("DRIP"), which allows registered stockholders to reinvest their dividends automatically into additional shares of Capital Southwest common stock. This move not only rewards existing shareholders but also encourages long-term investment and growth potential for the Company.

Capital Southwest Corporation is a business development company specializing in credit and private equity and venture capital investments in middle-market companies. The company focuses on growth financing, bolt-on acquisitions, new platform acquisitions, refinancing, dividend recapitalizations, sponsor-led buyouts, and management buyouts in the industrial manufacturing and services, value-added distribution, healthcare products and services, business services, specialty chemicals, food and beverage, tech-enabled services, and SaaS models sectors. The firm invests up to $25 million in securities, including equity co-investments alongside debt investments, with a preference for companies with revenues above $10 million and a historical growth rate of at least 15 percent per year. Founded in 1961 and based in Dallas, Texas, the company may also invest through warrants and participate on portfolio company boards.


Industry: Furnishings, Fixtures & Appliances

Ethan Allen Interiors Inc. ("Ethan Allen" or the "Company") recently reported strong financial and operating results for the fiscal 2023 third quarter. Despite a 5.7% decrease in consolidated net sales to $186.3 million, Ethan Allen achieved a gross margin of 59.9% and an operating margin of 15.5%, resulting in net income of $22.4 million and adjusted diluted earnings per share of $0.86. The company's retail written orders even surpassed pre-pandemic levels by 3.6%.

One notable development contributing to Ethan Allen's recent dividend increase of 13%, bringing the regular quarterly cash dividend to $0.36 per share, was the grand reopening of their flagship design center in Danbury, CT. This move positioned Ethan Allen as a leading Interior Design Destination, and the company plans to refresh most of its 172 design centers in North America to reflect this flagship center's features over the next six months. Additionally, the company's strong balance sheet, with total cash and investments of $156.2 million and no debt outstanding, has allowed Ethan Allen to return capital to shareholders through increased dividends.

Ethan Allen Interiors Inc. operates as an interior design company, and manufacturer and retailer of home furnishings in the United States, Mexico, Honduras, and Canada. The company operates in two segments, Wholesale and Retail. Its products include case goods items, such as beds, dressers, armoires, tables, chairs, buffets, entertainment units, home office furniture, and wooden accents; upholstery items comprising sleepers, recliners and other motion furniture, chairs, ottomans, custom pillows, sofas, loveseats, cut fabrics, and leather; and home accent items consisting of window treatments and drapery hardware, wall decors, florals, lighting, clocks, mattresses, bedspreads, throws, pillows, decorative accents, area rugs, wall coverings, and home and garden furnishings. The company markets and sells its products under the Ethan Allen brand through home furnishing retail networks and independent retailers, as well as through website. As of June 30, 2021, Ethan Allen Interiors Inc. operated a network of approximately 302 design centers. The company was founded in 1932 and is headquartered in Danbury, Connecticut.


Industry: Reit—Hotel & Motel

Summit Hotel Properties, Inc. (INN) has exciting news for its shareholders as the company recently announced an increase in its cash dividend for the first quarter ended March 31, 2023. The Board of Directors has authorized a 50 percent increase in the common dividend, raising it by $0.02 per share, resulting in a dividend of $0.06 per share of common stock. This move reflects Summit Hotel Properties' strong performance and commitment to providing value to its investors.

The dividend increase can be attributed to several factors, including the company's robust financial performance and positive outlook. With a dividend yield of 3.9 percent based on the closing price of shares on April 26, 2023, Summit Hotel Properties offers an attractive proposition for income-oriented investors. Additionally, the authorization of cash dividends for the preferred stocks, including Series E and Series F Cumulative Redeemable Preferred Stock, further demonstrates the company's confidence in its future prospects.

Furthermore, the distribution of $0.328125 per unit for the operating partnership's unregistered Series Z Cumulative Perpetual Preferred Units reflects Summit Hotel Properties' commitment to rewarding its investors across different classes.

Summit Hotel Properties, Inc. is a publicly traded real estate investment trust focused on owning premium-branded hotels with efficient operating models primarily in the Upscale segment of the lodging industry. As of November 3, 2020, the Company's portfolio consisted of 72 hotels, 67 of which are wholly owned, with a total of 11,288 guestrooms located in 23 states.


Industry: Asset Management

WhiteHorse Finance, Inc. recently announced its First Quarter 2023 Earnings Results, showcasing positive growth and financial performance. As a result, the company has increased its quarterly distribution to $0.37 per share, with plans to introduce a formula-based quarterly variable supplemental dividend policy. The decision to increase the dividend is attributed to several factors, including an increase in base rates and a corresponding rise in the company's portfolio's earning power. This move allows WhiteHorse Finance to maximize distributions to shareholders while maintaining the stability of its Net Asset Value, which is considered a crucial driver of shareholder economics over time.

The company's Chief Executive Officer, Stuart Aronson, expressed confidence in their ability to consistently earn the revised dividend on an annual basis, supported by a strong quarter with core net investment income exceeding the dividend. Furthermore, WhiteHorse Finance remains cautious in the face of a weakening economy, and they continue to focus on credits with compelling risk-return characteristics. The company's sound underwriting practices and support from H.I.G. Capital enable them to navigate challenging market environments successfully. Additionally, WhiteHorse Finance is well-positioned to take advantage of lender-friendly market conditions, as evident from their high pipeline activity and differentiated sourcing capabilities.

The company's investment portfolio, consisting of 116 positions across 70 companies, reflects a weighted average effective yield of 13.2% on income-producing debt investments. Notably, nearly all loans are variable rate investments, and most performing floating rate investments have interest rate floors. The financial results also indicate a net investment income increase of approximately 25.9% compared to the previous year, primarily due to higher investment income from interest and STRS JV investments, offset by increased interest expense and incentive fees. Despite some assets being marked down during the quarter, WhiteHorse Finance maintains its focus on prudent risk management.

WhiteHorse Finance, Inc. is a non-diversified, closed-end management investment company. The Company is a direct lender targeting debt investments in privately held, small-cap companies located in the United States. The company's investment objective is to generate attractive risk-adjusted returns primarily by originating and investing in senior secured loans, including first lien and second lien facilities, to performing small-cap companies across a range of industries that typically carry a floating interest rate based on the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) and have a term of 3 to 6 years. The company may also make investments at other levels of a company's capital structure, including mezzanine loans or equity interests. The company also may receive warrants to purchase common stock in connection with its debt investments. Its investment advisor is H.I.G. WhiteHorse Advisers, LLC.


Industry: Banks—Regional

ACNB Corporation, ACNB CORPORATION's financial holding company for ACNB Bank and ACNB Insurance Services, Inc. ACNB CORPORATION has recently announced a significant 7.7% increase in ACNB CORPORATION's regular quarterly cash dividend, raising it to $0.28 per share of ACNB Corporation common stock. This higher dividend of $0.28 per share will be paid on September 15, 2023, to shareholders of record as of September 1, 2023. The increase in dividend payments amounts to approximately $2.4 million to be distributed among ACNB Corporation shareholders in the third quarter of 2023.

This dividend increase showcases ACNB Corporation's commitment to rewarding ACNB CORPORATION's shareholders and signifies ACNB CORPORATION's confidence in ACNB CORPORATION's financial performance and future prospects. The upward trajectory in dividends can be attributed to ACNB CORPORATION's positive growth and financial stability. ACNB CORPORATION's management likely took this decision due to robust earnings and a strong financial position. Furthermore, the steady dividend growth throughout the year, resulting in a total of $0.84 per common share for the first nine months of 2023, demonstrates ACNB CORPORATION's consistent dedication to creating value for ACNB CORPORATION's investors.

ACNB Corp. is a holding company. ACNB CORPORATION is headquartered in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and currently employs 361 full-time employees. ACNB CORPORATION's banking operations are conducted through ACNB CORPORATION's operating subsidiary, ACNB Bank (the Bank), and offers a range of property and casualty, life and health insurance to both commercial and individual clients through ACNB CORPORATION's subsidiary, Russell Insurance Group, Inc. (RIG). ACNB CORPORATION has two segments: the Bank and RIG. RIG is managed separately from the banking segment, which includes the Bank and related financial services that ACNB CORPORATION offers through ACNB CORPORATION's banking subsidiary. Through ACNB CORPORATION's banking and nonbanking subsidiaries, ACNB CORPORATION provides a range of banking and financial services to individuals and businesses, including commercial and retail banking, trust and investment management, and insurance. ACNB Bank is a commercial bank. ACNB Bank's service delivery channels for ACNB CORPORATION's customers include the automated teller machine (ATM) network, customer contact center, online, telephone, and mobile banking.


Industry: Medical Care Facilities

National HealthCare Corporation (NHC), the nation's oldest publicly traded long-term health care company, has recently made a significant move to increase NHC's dividend payout. NHC announced that it will now be paying a quarterly dividend of 59 cents per common share, marking a substantial 3.5% increase over the previous quarter's regular common dividend.

This decision to increase NHC's dividend comes as a positive sign for investors and reflects NHC's confidence in NHC's financial stability and future prospects. NHC's strong financial performance and steady growth in the long-term healthcare sector have likely contributed to NHC's dividend boost. Additionally, recent news or developments within the healthcare industry might have played a role in this decision, further validating NHC's commitment to rewarding shareholders.

National HealthCare Corporation, founded in 1971 and headquartered in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, operates and manages a diverse range of healthcare services. They provide skilled nursing facilities with licensed therapy services, medical care, and rehabilitative services. Their medical specialty units cater to individuals with Alzheimer's and related disorders, while their assisted living centers offer personal care services and support for daily living activities. The company also owns and manages independent living facilities, providing residential units for the elderly. Additionally, they offer various ancillary services and health care programs, including pharmacy operations, financial services, and leasing properties to third-party operators. With 75 skilled nursing facilities, 25 assisted living facilities, 5 independent living facilities, 35 homecare programs, and 4 pharmacy locations, National HealthCare Corporation remains committed to delivering comprehensive healthcare solutions.


Industry: Insurance—Property & Casualty

Donegal Group Inc. (DGICA) and its Class B common stock (DGICB) announced today a positive development for Donegal Group Inc.'s shareholders by increasing Donegal Group Inc.'s regular quarterly cash dividends. The board of directors decided to raise the dividends by 3.0% for Class A common stock and 3.4% for Class B common stock compared to the previous rates. This move reflects Donegal Group Inc.'s commitment to rewarding Donegal Group Inc.'s investors and signifies Donegal Group Inc.'s confidence in Donegal Group Inc.'s financial performance and future prospects.

The decision to increase dividends is likely influenced by several factors. First, Donegal Group Inc.'s financial health and stability have likely improved, allowing Donegal Group Inc. to distribute more profits to Donegal Group Inc.'s shareholders. Second, Donegal Group Inc. may have experienced growth in Donegal Group Inc.'s revenue and profitability, providing ample room for dividend growth. Moreover, positive industry trends and recent news about Donegal Group Inc.'s performance could have contributed to the board's confidence in increasing dividends.

Donegal Group Inc., an insurance holding company, provides personal and commercial lines of property and casualty insurance to businesses and individuals in the Mid-Atlantic, Midwestern, New England, and southern states. Donegal Group Inc. operates through four segments: Investment Function, Personal Lines of Insurance, and Commercial Lines of Insurance. The company offers private passenger automobile policies that provide protection against liability for bodily injury and property damage arising from automobile accidents, as well as protection against loss from damage to automobiles. Donegal Group Inc. also offers homeowners policies, which provide coverage for damage to residences and their contents from a range of perils, including fire, lightning, windstorm, and theft; and liability of the insured arising from injury to other persons or their property. In addition, Donegal Group Inc. offers commercial automobile policies that provide protection against liability for bodily injury and property damage arising from automobile accidents and protection against loss from damage to automobiles owned by Donegal Group Inc.'s insured; commercial multi-peril policies that provide protection to businesses against various perils, primarily combining liability and physical damage coverages; and workers'' compensation policies, which provide benefits to employees for injuries sustained during employment. The company markets its insurance products through a network of approximately 2,400 independent insurance agencies. Donegal Group Inc. was founded in 1986 and is headquartered in Marietta, Pennsylvania. Donegal Group Inc. is a subsidiary of Donegal Mutual Insurance Company.


Industry: Banks—Regional

Esquire Financial Holdings, Inc. (ESQ) recently announced a substantial 25% increase in Esquire Financial Holdings, Inc.'s regular quarterly dividend, raising it to $0.125 per share of common stock. This dividend increase reflects Esquire Financial Holdings, Inc.'s strong financial performance and commitment to rewarding Esquire Financial Holdings, Inc.'s shareholders. The dividend will be payable on June 1, 2023, to all stockholders of record on May 15, 2023.

Esquire Financial Holdings, Inc.'s decision to increase the dividend can be attributed to Esquire Financial Holdings, Inc.'s steady growth and success over the years. Andrew C. Sagliocca, Chief Executive Officer and President of Esquire, has played a pivotal role in leading Esquire Financial Holdings, Inc. since 2009. His promotion to Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors further highlights his significant contributions to Esquire Financial Holdings, Inc.'s achievements.

Esquire Financial Holdings, Inc.'s institutional and corporate culture, fostered by Mr. Sagliocca and his team, has been instrumental in serving national verticals and building strong relationships with valued clients and dedicated employees. The trust placed in Mr. Sagliocca by the Board of Directors and the stakeholders reflects the confidence in his leadership to guide Esquire Financial Holdings, Inc. through its next phase of growth.

Esquire Financial Holdings, Inc. engages in the provision of banking and financial solutions. The company is headquartered in Jericho, New York, and currently employs 74 full-time employees. The firm operates through its wholly-owned bank subsidiary, Esquire Bank, National Association (the Bank). The Bank is a full-service commercial bank engaged in serving the financial needs of the legal and small business communities on a national basis, as well as commercial and retail customers in the New York metropolitan market. The Bank offers tailored products and solutions to the legal community and their clients, as well as merchant services solutions to small business owners, both on a national basis. The Bank also offers traditional banking products for businesses and consumers in its local market area. The Bank offers attorney-related loans, which include commercial and consumer lending to attorneys, law firms, and plaintiffs/claimants. The Bank also offers depository products, including checking, savings, money market, and certificates of deposit with a variety of rates.


Industry: Utilities—Regulated Water

Artesian Resources Corporation (ARTNA) recently announced a 2% increase in Artesian Resources Corporation's quarterly dividend per share on Artesian Resources Corporation's Class A and Class B Common Stock, bringing the annualized dividend rate to $1.136 per share. The decision was approved by the Board of Directors and reflects Artesian Resources Corporation's commitment to delivering enduring value to Artesian Resources Corporation's shareholders. Artesian Resources Corporation has a strong track record of consistent and sustainable dividend increases over the past 26 years, providing a reliable and regular flow of income for Artesian Resources Corporation's investors.

Dian C. Taylor, Chair, President, and CEO of Artesian, expressed her pleasure in sharing the news of the dividend increase. She highlighted Artesian Resources Corporation's dedication to achieving long-term strategic objectives, including successful customer base expansion, service area growth, and revenue increase. These efforts have likely contributed to Artesian Resources Corporation's ability to consistently raise dividends, demonstrating Artesian Resources Corporation's stability and reliability as an investment option.

Artesian Resources Corporation, through its subsidiaries, provides water, wastewater, and other services on the Delmarva Peninsula. The company distributes and sells water to residential, commercial, industrial, governmental, municipal, and utility customers, as well as for public and private fire protection in the states of Delaware, Maryland, and Pennsylvania; and offers wastewater collection, treatment infrastructure, and wastewater services to customers in Delaware. It also provides contract water and wastewater services; water, sewer, and internal service line protection plans; and wastewater management services, as well as design, construction, and engineering services. In addition, the company offers services to other water utilities, including operations and billing functions; owns real estate properties, including land for office buildings, a water treatment plant, and wastewater facility; and provides designing, installing, maintaining, and repairing services for storm water management systems. As of December 31, 2019, it served approximately 87,800 metered water customers in Delaware, 2,500 metered water customers in Maryland, and 40 customers in Pennsylvania through 1,331 miles of transmission and distribution mains. Artesian Resources Corporation was founded in 1905 and is headquartered in Newark, Delaware.


Industry: Banks—Regional

Alerus Financial Corporation (NASDAQ: ALRS) recently hiked its quarterly cash dividend by an impressive 5.56%, bringing it to $0.19 per common share, up from the previous year's payout. This move signals Alerus Financial Corporation's commitment to rewarding Alerus Financial Corporation's shareholders and indicates confidence in Alerus Financial Corporation's financial performance.

The decision to increase the dividend can be attributed to Alerus Financial Corporation's strong financial position and positive outlook. Alerus Financial Corporation's performance and earnings seem to be on an upward trajectory, driving its board of directors to share the profits with investors through a higher dividend. This move is likely to attract more investors and enhance shareholder loyalty.

With the dividend payable on July 14, 2023, to shareholders of record as of June 15, 2023, investors have a reason to be optimistic about Alerus Financial Corporation's future prospects. Interested parties can access more information, including historical dividend data and financial statements, through Alerus Financial Corporation's investor relations website at As always, prudent investors should keep an eye on Alerus Financial Corporation's news and developments for further insights into Alerus Financial Corporation's stock and dividend prospects.

Alerus Financial Corp. engages in the provision of business and consumer financial products and services through its subsidiary, Alerus Financial NA. The company is headquartered in Grand Forks, North Dakota, and currently employs 792 full-time employees. Through its subsidiary, Alerus Financial, National Association, the Company provides financial solutions to businesses and consumers. The company operates through four segments: Banking, Retirement and Benefit Services, Wealth Management, and Mortgage. The Banking division offers a line of loan, deposit, cash management, and treasury services. Retirement and Benefit Services provide recordkeeping and administration services to retirement plans; employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) trustee, recordkeeping, and administration, and investment fiduciary services to retirement plans. The Wealth Management division provides advisory and planning services, investment management, and trust and fiduciary services to clients. The Mortgage division offers mortgage loans through a centralized mortgage unit in Minneapolis, Minnesota, as well as through the Banking office locations.


Industry: Asset Management

BlackRock TCP Capital Corp. (TCPC), a leading business development company, recently reported strong financial results for the first quarter of 2023. The company's net investment income exceeded its dividend payout, with $25.4 million, or $0.44 per share on a diluted basis. This allowed TCPC to increase its dividend by 6.3%, with a second quarter dividend of $0.34 per share, payable on June 30, 2023, to shareholders of record as of June 16, 2023.

The dividend increase can be attributed to several factors. Firstly, TCPC experienced a net increase in net assets from operations of $22.7 million during the first quarter, mainly driven by the rise in investment income due to higher base rates and wider spreads, particularly related to the LIBOR/SOFR rates.

Furthermore, the company's investment portfolio remained strong, with debt investments in just two portfolio companies on non-accrual status, representing only 0.3% of the portfolio at fair value. This stability and the company's commitment to attractive and sustainable risk-adjusted returns for its shareholders contributed to the decision to raise the dividend.

Moreover, TCPC's investment strategy, focusing on senior secured loans, bonds, and subordinated debt, alongside selective equity investments, has yielded a weighted average annual effective yield of approximately 13.1% on its debt portfolio. This further supports the company's ability to sustain its dividend and provide attractive returns to investors.

BlackRock TCP Capital Corp. is a business development company specializing in direct equity and debt investments in middle-market, senior secured loans, junior loans, originated loans, mezzanine, senior debt instruments, bonds, and secondary-market investments. It typically invests in communication services, public relations services, television, wireless telecommunication services, apparel, textile mills, restaurants, retailing, energy, oil and gas extraction, Patent owners and Lessors, Federal and Federally- Sponsored Credit agencies, insurance, hospital and healthcare centers, Biotechnology, engineering services, heavy electrical equipment, tax accounting, scientific and related consulting services, charter freight air transportation, Information technology consulting, application hosting services, software diagram and design, computer-aided design, communication equipment, electronics manufacturing equipment, computer components, chemicals. It seeks to invest in the United States. The fund typically invests between $10 million and $35 million in companies with enterprise values between $100 million and $1500 million. It prefers to make equity investments in companies for an ownership stake.


Industry: Asset Management

Saratoga Investment Corp., a business development company, has recently announced an increase in its quarterly dividend to $0.70 per share for the fiscal first quarter ended May 31, 2023. This represents a $0.01 increase from the prior fiscal fourth quarter, marking the thirteenth consecutive quarterly dividend increase. The decision to raise the dividend comes as a result of Saratoga Investment Corp.'s strong financial performance, attributed to its largely floating rate assets, resilient portfolio, and favorable rate and spread environment.

According to Christian L. Oberbeck, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Saratoga Investment, the broader BDC industry has also seen benefits from this favorable environment, with average quarterly dividend increases of approximately 14% over the past year. Saratoga Investment Corp.'s impressive 32% year-over-year increase in its first-quarter dividend further highlights Saratoga Investment Corp.'s robust earnings. Based on the recent stock price of $26.52 per share on May 19, 2023, the annualized dividend rate suggests a 10.6% dividend yield and an attractive 14.8% earnings yield.

The announcement of this dividend increase reflects Saratoga Investment Corp.'s confidence in its financial performance and future prospects, providing shareholders with an opportunity to receive the dividend either in cash or as shares through the Company's dividend reinvestment plan ("DRIP"). Given Saratoga Investment Corp.'s strong performance and consistent dividend growth, investors may find Saratoga Investment Corp. an appealing option with the potential for favorable returns.

Saratoga Investment Corp. is a specialty finance company. It provides customized financing solutions to the United States' middle-market businesses. The Company primarily invests in senior and unitranche leveraged loans and mezzanine debt and, to a lesser extent, equity issued by private United States middle-market companies. The Company’s investment objective is to create attractive risk-adjusted returns by generating current income and long-term capital appreciation from its investments. Its investments generally provide financing for change of ownership transactions. The Company’s portfolio is comprised primarily of investments in leveraged loans issued by middle-market companies. The Company also invests in mezzanine debt and make equity investments in middle-market companies. Mezzanine debt is typically unsecured and subordinated to senior debt of the portfolio company. The Company's investment activities are externally managed and advised by Saratoga Investment Advisors, LLC.


Industry: Medical Instruments & Supplies

Utah Medical Products, Inc. (UTMD) recently made an exciting announcement, revealing an increase in its quarterly cash dividend. The Board of Directors approved a dividend of twenty-nine and one-half cents ($.295) per share of common stock, which represents a 1.7% boost from the dividend declared in the same quarter of the previous year. This dividend increase indicates Utah Medical Products, Inc.'s commitment to rewarding its shareholders and reflects the overall growth and stability of Utah Medical Products, Inc.

The decision to raise the dividend is likely driven by Utah Medical Products, Inc.'s strong financial performance and positive outlook for the future. With a 1.64% stock price increase, investors may be encouraged by Utah Medical Products, Inc.'s recent progress and prospects. In addition, Utah Medical Products, Inc. might have achieved significant milestones or experienced favorable developments in the medical products industry, contributing to its dividend growth.

Utah Medical Products, Inc. engages in the manufacturing, developing, and marketing of disposable and reusable medical devices. The company is headquartered in Midvale, Utah, and currently employs 173 full-time employees. The firm's product categories include labor and delivery/obstetrics, including fetal monitoring accessories, Vacuum-Assisted Delivery Systems (VAD), and other labor and delivery tools; neonatal intensive care, including DISPOSA-HOOD, DELTRAN PLUS, and GESCO; gynecology/urology/electrosurgery, including LETZ System, FINESSE+ Generator, EPITOME, PATHFINDER PLUS, HOLMIUM LASER FIBRES, LIBERTY System, ENDOCURETTE, TVUS/HSG-Cath, and LUMIN, and blood pressure monitoring, including DELTRAN Disposable Pressure Transducer (DPT), and pressure monitoring accessories, components, and other molded parts. UTMD markets a range of medical devices used in critical care areas, especially the neonatal intensive care unit, the labor and delivery department, and the women's health center in hospitals, as well as products sold to outpatient clinics and physician's offices.


Industry: Reit—Healthcare Facilities

Universal Health Realty Income Trust (UHT)! The Board of Trustees has decided to reward its shareholders by increasing the quarterly dividend. The dividend will now be $.72 per share, reflecting a $.005 rise from the previous amount. This decision showcases Universal Health Realty Income Trust's commitment to providing value to its investors while maintaining a stable financial outlook.

Universal Health Realty Income Trust, a real estate investment trust, invests in healthcare and human service related facilities, including acute care hospitals, rehabilitation hospitals, sub-acute care facilities, medical/office buildings, free-standing emergency departments, and childcare centers. The company operates in 15 markets in ten states, which represent approximately 817,000 gross rentable square feet.


Industry: Reit—Diversified

Alpine Income Property Trust, Inc. (PINE) recently made a noteworthy move, announcing a 1.9% year-over-year increase in its quarterly cash dividend for the second quarter of 2023. This dividend increase is substantial and reflects Alpine Income Property Trust, Inc.'s commitment to providing value to its shareholders. The dividend of $0.275 per share of common stock equates to an annualized yield of approximately 7.0%, based on the closing price of the common stock on May 19, 2023.

Several factors may have contributed to the company's decision to increase its dividend. Recent developments and news in the real estate market, where the Company operates, could be potential drivers for this decision. For investors, the increased dividend not only signifies confidence in the company's financial health but also enhances the attractiveness of holding Alpine Income Property Trust, Inc. stock, given its higher yield.

Alpine Income Property Trust, Inc. is a real estate company that owns and operates a portfolio of single-tenant commercial properties. The company is headquartered in Daytona Beach, Florida. The firm's portfolio consists of 20 single-tenant, primarily net-leased retail and office properties located in 15 markets in ten states, which represent approximately 817,000 gross rentable square feet.

All data was sourced from LevelFields AI

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