Walmart to repurchase $15 billion shares

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart's board of directors has approved a new program authorizing the company to repurchase $15 billion of its shares, the company announced at its 41st annual meeting of shareholders Friday.

This program replaces the previous $15 billion program, announced on June 4, 2010, that had approximately $2 billion of remaining authorization. Under the program, repurchased shares are retired constructively and returned to unissued status.

“Our purchase of almost $13 billion of Walmart stock since last June is indicative of our strong free cash flow position,” Walmart EVP and CFO Charles Holley said. “We are pleased to continue our share repurchase program with this new $15 billion authorization.”

Through June 2, under the 2010 authorization, the company had spent more than $12.9 billion to repurchase more than 244 million shares. In addition to share repurchase, the company continues to return value to shareholders through dividends. Walmart increased the current fiscal year dividend per share by approximately 21% to $1.46, from $1.21 in fiscal 2011. During the first quarter of this year, the company distributed $1.3 billion in dividends.

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