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Allegiant Travel plans special dividend of $2.25 a share

Allegiant Travel Co. announced Thursday it would pay a special dividend of $2.25 a share dividend payable on Jan. 3 to shareholders of record on Dec. 13.

Allegiant’s steady profits and sturdy balance sheet make the payout possible, according to Chairman and CEO Maurice Gallagher Jr. As of Sept. 30, the discount airline held cash and short-term investments of $283 million but only $166.1 million in long-term debt. The total payout would amount to nearly $42 million.

However, the company has not made a commitment to instituting a regular dividend.

In addition, the company has bought back stock, a method to try to boost the market price by increasing earnings per share. The purchases amounted to $47 million during the third quarter at an average price of $95.85 a share.

Shares rose 52 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $106.82 in after-hours trading.

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