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Boeing’s board of directors has approved an increase in the company’s quarterly dividend. (GeekWire Photo)

The Boeing Co. reported today that its board of directors approved a 20 percent increase in the company’s quarterly dividend, to a level of $2.055 per share.

The board also boosted its authorization for share repurchases from $18 billion to $20 billion.

The increases reflect Boeing’s optimistic outlook as the company gets ready to close the books on 2018 with a traditional year’s-end rush. As of Nov. 30, Boeing’s tally of commercial airplane deliveries came to 704, closing in on last year’s record of 763 deliveries. The 11-month tally for net orders stood at 690, compared with 912 for all of last year.

On the space and defense side of business, Boeing is on the verge of delivering its first KC-46 tanker to the Air Force, after years of delay and billions of dollars of cost overruns. This fall, the company won three blockbuster contracts for military aircraft, and it’s also getting ready to put its Starliner space taxi through a crucial series of test launches for NASA.

“Boeing continues to see significant opportunities in the markets we serve, and we have confidence in the power of our One Boeing strategy to execute and win on all fronts,” Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing’s chairman, president and CEO, said in a news release. “Boeing’s strong operational performance, financial health and positive future outlook underpin our continued investments in our people and our workplace, in innovative products and services, and in select strategic acquisitions and partnerships that accelerate our growth strategy.”

The new dividend will be payable next March 1 to shareholders of record as of Feb. 8, 2019.

Boeing said $9 billion worth of its shares were repurchased this year, counting against the $18 billion authorization approved a year ago. The share repurchase campaign has concluded for this year, Boeing said. Buybacks are expected to resume in January and continue over the course of 24 months. with the timing and volume of repurchases left to the discretion of Boeing’s management.

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