OMAHA, Neb., Nov. 21, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Union Pacific Corporation (NYSE: UNP) announced that its Board of Directors today approved the early renewal of its share repurchase program, authorizing the repurchase of up to 60 million common shares by December 31, 2017. This new authorization is effective January 1, 2014 and replaces the current authorization, which will now expire on December 31, 2013, three months earlier than its original expiration date. The new four year authorization allows for the repurchase of another 13 percent of current outstanding shares.
In addition, the Board has declared a quarterly dividend of 79 cents per share on the Company's common stock, payable January 2, 2014, to shareholders of record as of December 3, 2013. Union Pacific has paid dividends on its common stock for 114 consecutive years.
"This new share repurchase authorization demonstrates Union Pacific's continued long-term commitment to increasing shareholder value, while maintaining our strong, investment grade credit ratings," said Rob Knight, Union Pacific chief financial officer. "Since the inception of our current authorization program in April 2011, the growing profitability of the franchise has allowed us to increase our declared dividend over two-fold and return more than $4 billion to shareholders through our repurchase program. We have confidence in our continued ability to earn reinvestible returns on our diverse franchise opportunities. We expect to generate strong cash from operations to support our strategic growth capital investments, maintain a strong balance sheet, and reward shareholders with increasing returns."Since announcing its initial program in January 2007, the Company has repurchased approximately 19 percent of its outstanding shares at a total cost of nearly $8.6 billion, with an average purchase price of $84.50 per share. The timing and volume of share repurchases may be executed at the discretion of management on an opportunistic basis, or pursuant to trading plans or other arrangements. Any share repurchase under this program may be made in the open market, in privately negotiated transactions, or otherwise.