In moves that will please investors, Pfizer has raised its dividend, expanded its share buyback plans and also added the role of chairman to chief executive Ian Read's responsibilities.
First up, the drug giant said its quarterly dividend will increase to $0.22, up 10%. The move will cost Pfizer about $615 million and is payable on March 6 next year.
In addition, the board authorised a new share repurchase program for up to $10.00 billion of shares, in addition to the amount remaining under the current buyback project. Of the newly-authorised amount, Pfizer plans to buy back about $5.00 billion in 2012, with the remaining authorized amount available in 2013 and beyond.
Pfizer previously said it expected to repurchase $7.00-$9.00 billion of shares for 2011 and by November this year it had bought back around $6.50 billion of shares. Mr Read said that the dividend increase and new share repurchase programme "are a testament to our continued commitment to enhancing shareholder value and to our continued confidence in the business".
Meantime, the New York-based group revealed that Mr Read has been elected chairman, succeeding George Lorch, who becomes lead independent director.
Mr Lorch said that Mr Read's "broad experience at Pfizer and his deep understanding of the vital role that the pharmaceutical industry plays in advancing global health and in the global economy make Ian the right person for the chairmanship".