Intel raises quarterly dividend by 25 percent

/ Source: The Associated Press

Leading chip maker Intel Corp. on Thursday said it will boost its quarterly dividend by 25 percent and announced plans to repurchase an additional $25 billion in common shares.

The company raised the quarterly dividend to 10 cents from 8 cents, with the new rate going into effect with the dividend that will be declared in the first quarter next year.

Intel said it purchased more than 300 million shares for about $7.5 billion in the first three quarters of 2005, compared with $7.5 billion in repurchases for all of 2004

As of the end of the third quarter, about 313 million shares of stock remained available for repurchase under previous authorizations, representing about $7.8 billion of stock at the current stock price of $24.80. The new authorization of $25 billion in shares includes the $7.8 billion.

Paul Otellini, Intel president and chief executive, said the company is “returning record amounts of cash to our stockholders with one of the highest dividend yields in the technology industry and one of the largest share buyback programs of any company.”

Intel’s share price rose on the news. Its shares have traded in a 52-week range of $21.89 to $28.84.

The company’s current dividend yield is 1.3 percent, compared with 1.2 percent for Microsoft and 0.4 percent for Texas Instruments. Rival Advanced Micro Devices doesn’t pay a dividend.

U.S. companies have been setting a record pace for share repurchases this year as they try to boost shareholder value by using cash to reduce outstanding shares.

Companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index are expected to easily exceed the highs of 2004, when repurchases totaled $197 billion. In the first half of 2005 alone, there were $163 billion in buybacks, and the pace remains strong, according to S&P.