And a special dividend from NHC, too

Nursing home chain to pay out $14M

Add National HealthCare Corp. to the long list of companies stuffing extra cash in their investors' stockings before year-end tax changes.

The Murfreesboro-based operator of nursing homes said Thursday morning it will pay a special dividend of $1 per common share to shareholders of record on Dec. 17. The checks will go out the door on the 21st.

NHC pays regular dividends to common shareholders of 30 cents per share per quarter, giving it a normal yield of about 2.6 percent. It has a shade over 14 million shares outstanding.

The company's move to pay out some of the extra money on hand — it ended September with $84 million in cash on its balance sheet — comes just a few days after hospital giant HCA said it would issue a special dividend of about $1 billion. Hundreds of other companies around the country have chosen to issue special dividends or move up future payments — as did fellow local senior housing operator Advocat — to avoid higher taxes in 2013 and beyond.

At about 10:30 a.m., shares of NHC (Ticker: NHC) were up about 1.3 percent to $46.08. Year to date, they're up about 10 percent.