OAK BROOK, ILL. — The board of directors of McDonald’s Corp. has raised the company’s quarterly cash dividend 5%, to 81c per share. The dividend is payable on Dec. 16 to shareholders of record at the close of business on Dec. 2, and it brings the fourth-quarter dividend payout to more than $800 million.

“Today's announced dividend increase brings our 2013 expected total cash return to shareholders to between $4.5 (billion) and $5 billion through dividends and share repurchases,” said Don Thompson, president and chief executive officer. “McDonald’s commitment to enhancing the customer experience — from our menu and operations to our value and convenience — continues to move us closer to becoming our customers’ favorite place and way to eat and drink. Our philosophy on the use of capital remains unchanged with our first priority being to reinvest in our business to drive sales and cash flow, while generating strong returns. After these investment opportunities, we expect to return all of our free cash flow to shareholders over the long term through dividends and share repurchases.

“Today’s dividend increase demonstrates the continued strength and sustainability of our cash flow and our commitment to enhancing shareholder value.”

McDonald's has raised its dividend each and every year since paying its first dividend in 1976. The new quarterly dividend of 81c per share is equivalent to $3.24 annually.