Apple says its Board of Directors has authorized an increase of more than 50% to the company’s program to return capital to shareholders. Under the expanded program, Apple plans to utilize a cumulative total of US$200 billion of cash by the end of March 2017.
As part of the revised program, the Board has increased its share repurchase authorization to $140 billion from the $90 billion level announced last year. In addition, the company expects to continue to net-share-settle vesting restricted stock units.
The Board has also approved an increase of 11% to the company’s quarterly dividend, and has declared a dividend of $.52 per share, payable on May 14, 2015 to shareholders of record as of the close of business on May 11, 2015.
From the inception of its capital return program in August 2012 through March 2015, Apple has returned over $112 billion to shareholders, including $80 billion in share repurchases.
To assist in funding the program, the company plans to continue to access the domestic and international debt markets. The management team and the Board will continue to review each element of the capital return program regularly and plan to provide an update on the program on an annual basis.
“We believe Apple has a bright future ahead, and the unprecedented size of our capital return program reflects that strong confidence,” said Apple CEO in a press release. “While most of our program will focus on buying back shares, we know that the dividend is very important to many of our investors, so we’re raising it for the third time in less than three years.”