Balanced Capital Allocation Strategy
Curtiss-Wright remains committed to a balanced capital allocation strategy that consists of complementing our organic growth with a disciplined pace of acquisitions, reinvesting in our business (including increased research and development across all segments in 2018), and providing steady distributions to our shareholders in order to maximize shareholder value.
The Company’s strong financial position and continued ability to deliver solid earnings growth and free cash flow enables us to consistently provide a steady return to our shareholders. We maintain an active share repurchase program, where we repurchased $51 million in shares in 2017, and also authorized a 15% increase in the quarterly dividend payout to $0.15 per share, or $0.60 annually. We expect to repurchase at least $50 million in shares in 2018. Over the past four years, we have repurchased more than $500 million of our shares.
We will also seek acquisitions that support our long-term strategic and financial objectives. In early 2017, we completed the acquisition of TTC, a leading designer and manufacturer of high-technology, comprehensive data acquisition and flight test instrumentation systems for the aerospace and defense markets. TTC was a great addition to our portfolio with its attractive positioning within a growing defense market, as well as its robust profitability.
In early 2018, we announced an agreement to purchase the Dresser-Rand government business for $212.5 million in cash. Dresser-Rand is the preferred supplier of steam turbines and main engine guard valves on aircraft carriers, and has significant content on submarines and other surface ships. As a result, this acquisition is expected to significantly expand our shipset content and increase our footprint on new U.S. Navy Nuclear vessels. It also will establish a prominent Curtiss-Wright presence at U.S. Navy shipyards and provide an opportunity to grow our existing U.S. Navy aftermarket business. We are excited to add this marquee brand to the Curtiss-Wright portfolio, especially during a period of rising naval defense budgets.
These collective actions reflect the Board of Directors’ continued confidence in our ability to deliver solid, profitable growth and strong free cash flow.