Healthcare Business

AbbVie Delivers on Promise of Higher Dividend and Stronger Stock Buybacks

Jon C. Ogg

AbbVie Inc. (NYSE: ABBV) is joining the companies raising their shareholder rewards. The pharmaceutical products maker has announced how it will further commit to previously forecast moves. AbbVie is raising its dividend handily and is massively increasing its stock buyback plans.

The company did not mention anything about tax reform in this release from February 15, but AbbVie had addressed its tax reform plans back in late-January and noted that its 2018 effective tax rate would be reduced to about 8%. At that time, AbbVie said it was working to spend $2.5 billion on capital spending, add about $750 million to its pension funding and also juice up its buyback plan and increase the dividend.

What’s interesting about AbbVie’s dividend hike is that it already had a 2.5% yield. With the dividend rising to $0.96 per share per quarter (from $0.71), the new yield will jump to about 3.35%, based on the $114.20 share price. AbbVie’s new cash dividend will be paid on May 15, 2018, to shareholders of record as of the close of the trading day on April 13, 2018.

On the share buyback plan, AbbVie is launching a new $10 billion share buyback authorization. The new repurchase program will supersede any existing repurchase authorizations, and the company said that stock purchases may be made from time to time in management’s discretion and can be made via open market or private transactions. AbbVie also noted that the new buyback has no time limit and may be discontinued at any time.

AbbVie’s prior buyback authorization announcement was a year ago at $5 billion. The company has a market cap of about $182 billion.

AbbVie shares were last seen up 2.2% at $115.70 after the announcement. The stock has a 52-week trading range of $60.81 to $125.86 and a consensus analyst target price of $125.20.