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Target Corporation (NYSE: TGT) today announced that, as expected, it has completed the $10 billion share repurchase program authorized by its board of directors in November 2007. Under the program, the company repurchased 193.5 million shares, representing nearly 23 percent of its November 2007 outstanding shares, at an average price of $51.68 per share.
Target will continue to repurchase shares under the $5 billion program approved by its board of directors in January, 2012, which it expects to complete in the next 2 to 3 years.
“Target’s completion of the 2007 share repurchase program demonstrates our long-standing commitment to return cash to shareholders through both dividends and share repurchase,” said John Mulligan, incoming EVP and chief financial officer of Target Corporation. “Through disciplined financial management, Target continues to generate far more cash than we need to fund appropriate reinvestment in our core businesses. As a result, we intend to continue to invest in the repurchase of shares under our January 2012 authorization.”
Priorities for Dividends and Share Repurchase
Dividends represent the foundation of Target’s strategy to return cash to its shareholders. The company has paid a dividend every quarter since it became a public company in 1967, and in 2011 the company marked its 40
th consecutive year of annual dividend increases. Over the last 5 years, Target Corporation’s dividend has grown much faster than earnings per share, reflecting a slower pace of capital expenditures along with robust generation of cash from operations. The company expects to continue to grow the dividend at a robust pace which would allow the annual dividend to rise to $3.00 or more by 2017, assuming the company meets its goal to grow annual earnings per share to $8.00 or more by that time.
Share repurchase represents an opportunity to apply excess cash flow to what the company believes will be an attractive long-term investment, and the company intends to continue to govern its pace of execution of share repurchase to maintain strong investment-grade credit ratings. The company believes this investment will prove to be especially valuable if it is able to achieve its long-term EPS growth objectives.