) --

Coca-Cola Enterprises




(KO) - Get Coca-Cola Company Report

largest bottler, said early Monday its board approved another $1 billion stock repurchase program, to begin when its current buyback plan is completed by the end of this year.

Coca-Cola Enterprises already has purchased $750 million worth of its own stock in a prior $1 billion plan, launched in the fourth quarter. That plan is expected to be completed by the end of this year, and then the company will launch its new $1 billion plan.

While repurchasing stock cosmetically boosts a company's earnings per share -- arguably a good thing for shareholders -- it also ties up cash that could have been used to increase dividends and give investors the choice to do what they wish with the extra capital. It could also mean the company sees no better alternative for investing in its own business through expansion or acquisitions.

Still, a number of companies have been boosting their buyback programs lately, putting record stockpiles of cash to use in an effort to improve investor confidence.

>> Newell, TiVo Join Buyback Parade

Last week,

Washington Post


said it would repurchase up to 750,000 shares of its Class B stock under a new board-approved buyback authorization. The media company didn't specify a time frame for the plan, nor a maximum stock price, though it includes 46,000 shares authorized for buyback under a prior repurchase program.

Also last week,


(CL) - Get Colgate-Palmolive Company Report

board approved the repurchase of 50 million shares over the next two to three years. The shares will be bought either on the open market or via private transactions.

Shares of Coca-Cola Enterprises were 0.8% higher at $25.55 Monday morning. Washington Post shares were flat at $330 and Colgate-Palmolive lost 1.1% to $88.

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Written by Miriam Marcus Reimer in New York.

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