Deerfield-based Walgreen Co. announced its quarterly dividend increased 28.6 percent, the largest quarterly dividend increase in the company's 110-year history.
The national drugstore chain said its dividend was 22.5 cents per share, up from the previous rate of 17.5 cents per share, and will be payable to shareholders Sept. 12. The dividend increase raises the annual rate from 70 cents per share to 90 cents per share.
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The board of trustees also authorized a new $2 billion share repurchase program, which will expire Dec. 31. The company said it has completed a $1 billion share repurchase program announced last October.
"This is our third share repurchase program announced since October 2009. Since then, we have completed $3 billion in share repurchases and paid $1.1 billion in dividends to shareholders," said Walgreens President and CEO Greg Wasson. "We have continued to deliver on our commitment to return cash to our shareholders consistent with our capital policy guidelines."
Walgreens has paid a dividend in 315 straight quarters -- more than 78 years -- and has now raised its dividend for 36 consecutive years. Since the beginning of fiscal year 2007, Walgreens annual dividend rate has increased from 31 cents per share to 90 cents per share, resulting in a compound annual growth rate of 23.8 percent.