The First Bancorp not only has a strong earnings history, it also has a long-term record of sharing earnings with its shareholders. For many investors, cash dividends have become increasingly important given the mixed equity returns seen in the broad market during recent years and the favorable tax treatments that cash dividends receive.
During the fourth quarter of 2016, the Company declared a cash dividend of 23 cents per share, this is equal to the dividend paid during the second and third quarters of 2016. In addition to the regular quarterly dividend, a special cash dividend of 12 cents per share was declared. We continue to pay our quarterly dividend because of the importance of this to the majority of our shareholders. With regular quarterly dividends of 91 cents per share and the special cash dividend of 12 cents per share, total dividends declared in 2016 were $1.03 per share which resulted in a dividend payout ratio of 61.31% for the year.
The following table shows quarterly and annual historical information about The First Bancorp dividends: