The board of directors of Walgreen Co. has authorized a new $1 billion share repurchase program, which will expire at the end of 2012.
The board also declared a regular quarterly dividend of 17.5 cents per share, a 27.3% increase over the year-ago dividend. The dividend is payable Dec. 11, 2010, to shareholders of record Nov. 15, 2010.
“We are proud of our track record of delivering on our commitment to return cash to our shareholders, and today’s announcement of our new share repurchase program continues that commitment,” said Walgreens President and CEO Greg Wasson. “In our last fiscal year, we returned a record $2.2 billion to shareholders in the form of dividends and share repurchases. And last month, we completed our previous $2 billion share repurchase program that was announced in October 2009.”
Under the company’s capital policy guidelines, Walgreens is committed to maintaining a strong balance sheet and financial flexibility, investing in core strategies and related strategic opportunities, and returning surplus cash to shareholders in the form of dividends and share repurchases over the long term.
Walgreens has paid a dividend in 312 straight quarters (78 years) and has raised its dividend for 35 consecutive years. The company has increased its dividend by a compound annual growth rate of 24.3% over the last six years.
Walgreens operates 7,580 drugstores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.