board approved the buyback of $7.5 billion in stock over the next five years.
The construction equipment giant expects to begin the new program upon the completion of its current $6.4 billion buyback plan. That plan, begun in October 2003, is expected be completed within the next few months.
Caterpillar currently has roughly 645 million shares outstanding.
"The completion of our previous program more than a year and a half ahead of schedule is a testament to our strong cash flows and financial position," said Chairman and CEO Jim Owens. "The new authorization underlines our confidence in the long-term growth prospects of our company and in our ability to continue to generate strong cash flows to grow our business and to enhance stockholder value."
Shares of Caterpillar were up $1.83, or 2.8%, to $67.99 in premarket trading.