General Electric Co. will buy back an additional $10 billion of shares and increase its dividend for the fifth time since 2010 as CEO Jeffrey Immelt rushes to return cash to investors.
GE raised the payout by 2 cents to 19 cents a share payable on Jan. 25, the Fairfield, Conn.-based company said Friday. The world's largest maker of jet engines, medical imaging equipment and diesel locomotives slashed the payout to 10 cents a share in 2009 to save cash during the financial crisis.
Immelt is emphasizing both higher dividends and stock buybacks, with GE expecting to generate $100 billion of cash through 2016 as he expands profit margins at industrial units and shrinks financial operations. GE had $4.9 billion remaining on an existing repurchase plan running through next year, and the additional shares will be bought through 2015.
"Returning cash to our shareholders remains a top priority," Immelt said. "Coupled with our strong operational outlook, today's announcement underscores our balanced and disciplined approach to capital allocation."
There were 10.5 billion shares of GE stock outstanding as of Sept. 30, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.