As Peoria-based Caterpillar continues to lay off workers, the board has voted to maintain its quarterly dividend at 52 cents per share. That will be payable May 20th. The heavy equipment maker has had reverses in China and is coping with a global slowdown of demand for products. Chairman Doug Oberhelman says the balance sheet is strong and dividend payments are a good way to reward longterm investors in the company. The company has paid higher dividends to customers for 19 straight years. Since 1998, the company's cash dividend has more than tripled. Caterpillar has paid dividends in all of its 86 years in business. Oberhelman says he is encouraged by some recent improvements in economic indicators, but there are still uncertainties in the world.
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