Covidien (NYSE:COV) is looking to repurchase about $1 billion worth of its own company stock and plans to kick out its usual 18-cent quarterly dividend to shareholders.
The Mansfield, Mass.-based medical equipment monolith said it will purchase up to $1 billion of its own stock, based on market conditions. Covidien added that it will institute a program to offset any dilution that could come from equity compensation plans.
Covidien shares were trading at $51.47 in mid-day trading March 17, approaching its 52-week high of $51.62. The stock has generally been on a roll for the last six months, gaining nearly 22 percent during that time.
The company is sitting on about $1.5 billion in cash and equivalents, according to its most recent earnings statement. With all that cash to burn, Covidien could increase dividend payments, as it did last fall when it pushed annual pay out to 72 cents per share, or it can repurchase stock in hopes of pushing share prices north.
There will be no dividend increase this quarter, at least, as Covidien said it will issue its usual dividend of 18 cents per share, worth a total of about $90 million, based on the roughly 500 million shares of stock the company has outstanding.
The dividend is payable May 14 to shareholders of record as of April 15.