IBM Increases Dividend

IBM's board authorizes an $8 billion share-buyback program and increases the tech giant's quarterly dividend.
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ARMONK, New York (

TheStreet

) --

IBM's

(IBM) - Get Report

board has authorized a buyback of $8 billion worth of shares and will increase the tech giant's quarterly dividend to 65 cents a share.

The dividend payment is 10 cents higher than the company's prior quarterly dividend and will be paid to shareholders on June 10, according to an IBM statement.

"We're quite comfortable with this," Jesse Greene, IBM's vice president of financial management told

TheStreet

. "We have a long history of increasing our dividend double digits -- it has been going on for the last seven years."

With the payment of the June dividend, IBM will have paid quarterly consecutive dividends every year since 1916.

"We're a large company with very steady cash flow -- a lot of our revenue is in long-term contracts," said Greene. "We have had a stock-buyback program running since 1995 -- we have turned over $100 billion to our shareholders through that mechanism."

IBM

blew past analysts' estimates

in its recent

first-quarter results

, boosted by strong software sales. The tech bellwether also saw a $400 million improvement in its free cash flow during the quarter.

>> Who Owns IBM?: Navellier & Associates

Some analysts, however, have voiced concern that

IBM's scale may be an impediment to growth

, although the company has proved adept at

squeezing profit from high-margin areas such as software and services

.

Hot on the heels of

strong results

from

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

,

AMD

(AMD) - Get Report

and

Oracle

(ORCL) - Get Report

, IBM's first-quarter results were seen as further evidence of the

tech recovery

.

IBM's share-repurchase plan is in addition to the $2 billion left over at the end of March from a prior authorization. The company expects to request another share buyback at its board meeting in October 2010.

Investors, however, were largely underwhelmed by the dividend announcement. The company's stock dipped 72 cents, or 0.55% to $130.01 on Tuesday, mirroring the broader retreat in tech stocks that saw the

Nasdaq

slip 0.97%.

-- Reported by James Rogers in New York

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