Williams Cos. said late Monday it would increase its dividend by 50% to 30 cents a share, payable March 2017, adding it would target a 10%-15% annual growth "over the next several years." In the same statement, Williams Partners LP said it was reducing its quarterly distribution for the quarter ending March 31 to 60 cent per unit, a 30% cut. The companies also announced a plan to increase Williams Cos. ownership of Williams Partners to 72%, and that Williams Cos. expects to buy additional units of Williams Partners in a private placement, funding such purchases with equity. Shares of Williams, an energy company primarily focused on natural gas processing and transportation, had ended the day down 1.5%.
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