PHARMACY

Walgreens posts historic increase to quarterly dividend

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — The board of directors of Walgreens on Wednesday increased the quarterly dividend 28.6% — the largest quarterly dividend increase in the company’s 110-year history — to 22.5 cents per share from the previous rate of 17.5 cents per share.

The dividend is payable Sept. 12 to shareholders of record from Aug. 19. The dividend increase raises the annual rate from 70 cents per share to 90 cents per share.

The board also authorized a new $2 billion share repurchase program, which will expire Dec. 31, 2015.

"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," stated 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%.

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PHARMACY

Foundation Care gets new office, warehouse space for pharmacy, distribution services

BY Alaric DeArment

ST. LOUIS — Retail pharmacy and specialty distributor Foundation Care has acquired a new office and warehouse space to accommodate new demand for its pharmacy and distribution services, the company said.

The 20,000-sq.-ft. space is adjacent to its Earth City, Mo., location, and the company said it would ensure adequate space to cater to its current and future pharmaceutical, biotech and device business partners.

“We are very excited about this investment and commitment to the Earth City area as it will allow for us to expand our capabilities and create new jobs,” Foundation Care CEO Dan Blakeley said.

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Navarro Discount Pharmacy promotes Ortiz to CEO

BY Antoinette Alexander

MIAMI — Regional pharmacy chain Navarro Discount Pharmacy, which currently has 29 stores, has named finance executive Juan Ortiz the company’s CFO, to the position of CEO.

Ortiz succeeds CEO Steve Kaczynski, whose expertise in retail merchandising and marketing over the last 18 months has been instrumental in setting a strategic direction for the company and expanding its footprint in South Florida and nationally.

"Juan Ortiz and his team have worked diligently on [giving] Navarro¹s successful financial turnaround building a singular focus and working hand-in-hand with management and employees to execute an effective, long term plan," stated Jorge Rico, a co-founding partner of MBF Healthcare Partners, Navarro’s equity partner. "In addition, Juan’s leadership over the last three years laid the needed groundwork for the first phase of Navarro¹s three-year store expansion plan, now being implemented, as well as record sales and earnings in the company’s 50-year history."

Kaczynski is credited with leading the company to year-over-year increases in sales and earnings and developing a new branding and revitalization program, which included its store expansion and e-commerce capabilities, as well as unveiling the Vida Mia brand, Navarro¹s own bilingual, private-label brand of Hispanic products.

Ortiz joined Navarro as its CFO in August 2008. He and his team stabilized sales and customer traffic, identified new revenue streams, increased profitability and reduced operating expenses by $10 million in a 24-month period, the company stated.

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