Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) announced Thursday its board had authorized a $10 billion share buyback with $3.9 billion left on its current repurchase program. The buyback is the company’s fourth in two-and-a-half years, and the program totals $39 billion thus far.
Pfizer shares rose 1.4 percent to $28.58 in after-hours trading after the announcement was made. In addition to the buyback, the company also announced it would pay a 24-cent per share third-quarter dividend on September 4 to shareholders of record on August 2.
In April, Pfizer reported its first-quarter profits were up 54 percent from the same period last year; the company’s stock has also risen 25 percent in the past twelve months. The drugmaker, under CEO Ian Read, has turned its focus back to developing brand-name therapies in the face of growing competition from generic drugs. Read has said repurchasing shares is the best use of the company’s money, Bloomberg reports.
The buyback announcement comes after the company on Monday unveiled the spinoff of Zoetis Inc. (NYSE:ZTS), its former animal health business, after investors had traded enough Zoetis stock for Pfizer shares.
Pfizer is one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, and its business is divided into five segments: primary care, specialty care and oncology, established products and emerging markets, consumer healthcare, and nutrition.
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