Johnson & Johnson hikes dividend at shareholders meeting

Health care giant Johnson & Johnson is increasing its dividend for the 54th consecutive year, news that cheered shareholders at a low-key annual meeting Thursday.

CEO Alex Gorsky said the quarterly dividend will rise by 5 cents to 80 cents, “in recognition of our 2015 results, strong financial position and confidence in” J&J’s future.

Meanwhile, preliminary totals showed that more than 90 per cent of shares voted approved top executives’ compensation, the company’s auditor and new one-year terms for board members.

A shareholder proposal to require that the board chairman be independent drew nearly 41 per cent of votes but failed. Other shareholder proposals all failed. They called for requiring detailed annual reports on lobbying expenditures, making share repurchases the priority for rewarding shareholders, and starting take-back programs for unused medicines.