Agilent Boosts Dividend, Announces Buyback Plan

Agilent Technologies Inc., the scientific-testing equipment company that was spun off from Hewlett-Packard Co. in 1999, increased its quarterly dividend by 20 percent and approved a $500 million stock buyback.

The dividend will rise to 12 cents a share in the fiscal second quarter from 10 cents, the Santa Clara, California-based company said today in a statement. The payout will happen on April 24 to shareholders of record on April 2.

The move “reflects our confidence in Agilent’s future cash generation capabilities and our commitment to return capital to shareholders,” Agilent Chief Executive Officer Bill Sullivan said in the statement.

Agilent is moving to reward shareholders after a disappointing earnings forecast last quarter. The company said in November it expected earnings of 65 cents to 67 cents a share in the first quarter, excluding some items, compared with an average analyst estimate of 75 cents.

The shares rose 1.5 percent to $43.70 at 9:49 a.m. in New York. Agilent’s stock climbed 17 percent in 2012.

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