Deere expands share buyback program by $8 billion

By The Associated Press

Deere and Co. plans to buy back more shares of its stock and increase the dividend.

Deere & Co. said Wednesday that its board of directors approved an increase to the company’s share buyback program. It also declared a quarterly dividend.

The tractor maker said that it will boost its share buyback program by $8 billion. It still has about $1 billion remaining from a $5 billion share buyback program announced in May 2008. Since 2004, Deere said it has repurchased about $11 billion of common stock. The company said it had about 375 million outstanding shares as of Oct. 31.

Deere also announced a quarterly dividend of 51 cents per share, which will be paid on Feb. 3 to shareholders of record as of Dec. 31.

“Today’s action reflects our confidence in the company’s long-term future growth opportunities,” Deere CEO Samuel Allen said.

The company, which is based in Moline, Ill., also makes mowers, plows and other gear used by farmers.

Companies typically buy back stock when they have excess cash on hand or feel their shares are undervalued. Buying back stock can boost the value of remaining shares.

Deere’s profits have been rising after it raised prices on farm and construction equipment.

Shares of Deere rose $3.68, or 4.5 percent, to $86.39 in morning trading Wednesday.



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