3M Boosts Dividend as $10 Billion Share Buyback Authorized

  • Repurchase plan replaces previous $12 billion program
  • Company also announces it will keep health information unit

3M Co. boosted its dividend as the maker of Post-it Notes and Scotch tape announced a plan to buy back as much as $10 billion of its shares.

A quarterly payout of $1.11 a share represents an 8 percent increase over the previous amount, 3M said Tuesday in a statement. The dividend is payable March 12 to stockholders of record as of Feb. 12.

“Investing in our business remains priority one, while at the same time our strong and consistent cash generation also allows 3M to return significant cash to shareholders,” Chief Executive Officer Inge Thulin said in the statement.

Thulin has emphasized investor returns, along with international growth and product development, since assuming the top post in 2012. 3M handed back $7.8 billion to shareholders last year through dividends and share repurchases and $46 billion over the last decade.

The new buyback program, which has no set closing date, replaces a $12 billion plan authorized in February 2014. That had about $1.5 billion remaining at the end of 2015, a spokeswoman said.

3M also said it will retain and invest in its Health Information Systems unit, which had sales of $760 million in 2015. The company announced in September it was reviewing alternatives, including whether to sell, spin off or keep the business.

The company last week reported fourth-quarter sales and profit that beat analyst estimates as it cut costs to fight the effects of a strong dollar. 3M generates about three-quarters of its revenue abroad, making it vulnerable to the effects of foreign exchange.

The shares fell 8.3 percent last year, the first annual decline in four years.

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