NorthWestern Corp. increases annual dividend by 8 cents to $1.27

SIOUX FALLS, S.D., Nov. 7, 2001 – The Board of Directors of NorthWestern Corporation today announced a quarterly dividend of 31 3/4 cents per share on the company’s common stock payable Dec. 1, 2001, to holders of record on Nov. 15, 2001.

The quarterly common stock dividend of 31 3/4 cents per share is equivalent to an annual dividend rate of $1.27, an 8-cent (6.7 percent) increase over the previous annual dividend rate of $1.19. NorthWestern has increased dividends for 18 consecutive years and has paid dividends for 55 consecutive years on its common stock.

“The increase in dividends reflects NorthWestern’s ongoing growth strategy,” said Merle D. Lewis, NorthWestern’s chairman and chief executive officer. “We continue to aggressively drive the company toward our targets for long-term free cash flow and long-term earnings growth. For the seventh consecutive year, we have increased dividends at levels well above industry averages, reflecting our commitment to increasing shareholder value and returning immediate benefits to our shareholders in the form of a current cash yield.

NorthWestern’s long history of dividend increases has earned the company recognition as a Dividend Achiever by Mergent Inc. Mergent compiles its list of Dividend Achievers from more than 10,000 U.S. companies and identifies companies that have increased per-share cash dividends annually for the past 10 consecutive calendar years.

“Over the last five years, NorthWestern’s growth opportunities have accelerated and we have continued our philosophy of increasing common stock dividends, balancing investments in the continued long-term growth of NorthWestern and at the same time growing dividends” said Richard R. Hylland, NorthWestern’s president and chief operating officer. “We think these are key factors for our investors in realizing a superior long-term shareholder value proposition as well as a current cash yield, particularly in the current economic and capital markets environment.”

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