Harley-Davidson Increases Dividend

Harley-Davidson's Board of Directors increased shareholders' dividends at the company's annual shareholder meeting in Milwaukee April 26. All items of business presented to shareholders were approved at the meeting, according to a press release.

The board approved a cash dividend of 33 cents per share for the second quarter of 2008, a 10 percent hike from the dividend paid March 18. The dividend is payable June 20 to shareholders of record as of June 5.

During the meeting, the shareholders approved the re-election of George H. Conrades, Sara L. Levinson, George L. Miles, Jr., and Jochen Zeitz as Class II Directors. Also, Ernst & Young LLP was ratified as the company's independent registered public accounting firm for calendar year 2008.

Over the last year, H-D shares have lost a third of their value, slipping from a 52-week high of $65.02 to trading just under $40 today. Earlier this month, the company announced it would lay of 730 workers over the next few months and scale back shipments in the face of weak demand. That move is the company's largest workforce reduction since the 1980s and is expected to cost the company $25 million in one-time severance charges.

The company's unions are asking manufacturing workers eligible for retirement to volunteer to leave, but some have said they will make cuts based on seniority if not enough potential retirees step up.