Walgreens to Buy Back $10 Billion in Shares, Raises Dividend

Walgreens to Buy Back $10 Billion in Shares, Raises Dividend

Walgreens Boots Alliance
Inc.


WBA -0.47%

plans to repurchase as a lot as $10 billion of its shares and raised its dividend, as the pharmacy chain and latest Dow element turns into the newest firm to return extra capital to traders following the brand new U.S. tax legislation.

U.S. firms have been shopping for again their shares at an aggressive tempo, raising questions about the way that the new corporate tax cuts are being used.

Walgreens, which additionally on Thursday reported stronger gross sales and income in its third quarter, stated its efficient tax charge was 7.6%, in contrast with 12.four% in the identical quarter a yr earlier than.

Health-care firms have pledged to work to scale back rising drug costs. For Walgreens, comparable pharmacy-sales growth in the U.S. was flat in its newest quarter, as increased costs on branded medicine have been offset by reimbursement pressures and the affect of generic medicine. Comparable pharmacy gross sales decreased 1.7% overseas.

Comparable retail gross sales fell three.eight% in the U.S. and 1.three% on a constant-currency foundation internationally.

Walgreens, which replaced General Electric Co. in the Dow Jones Industrial Average this week, has expanded in current years by merging with European drug wholesaler Alliance Boots and buying up stores from rival Rite Aid Corp. The firm, whose roots date again to 1901, has greater than 13,200 shops throughout 11 international locations.

Walgreens raised its quarterly dividend to 44 cents from 40 cents. The 10% dividend improve is increased than these the corporate has carried out in current years.

The firm additionally elevated the low finish of its earnings steerage for the yr by 5 cents a share. It now expects earnings per share of $5.90 to $6.05.

In all for the third quarter, Walgreens posted a revenue of $1.34 billion, or $1.35 a share, in contrast with a revenue of $1.16 billion, or $1.07 a share, in the year-ago interval. On an adjusted foundation, earnings per share got here in at $1.53, above the $1.48 anticipated by analysts polled by FactSet.

Bolstered by the acquisition of

Rite

Aid shops, gross sales rose 14% to $34.33 billion. Analysts had anticipated the corporate to report $34.1 billion in gross sales.

Walgreens shares have been flat in premarket buying and selling.

Write to Austen Hufford at [email protected]

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