The Deere & Co. board of directors recently authorized plans to repurchase up to 20 million additional shares of common stock.
“This action reflects confidence in the company’s future direction and in its ability to generate sustainable cash flow to fund growth opportunities while returning cash to our shareholders,” said Robert Lane, chairman and CEO. “Since 2004, the company has returned more than $4 billion to investors through a combination of repurchases and dividends.” During this period, the company's quarterly dividend rate has doubled.
The repurchase program will go into effect after the existing 26 million-share plan, announced in November 2005, is completed. There were 4.6 million shares remaining under the prior authorization on April 30, 2007. Repurchases will be made at the company's discretion in the open market. Deere had approximately 225 million shares outstanding on April 30.
In addition, Deere's board of directors declared a dividend of 44 cents a share, payable August 1, 2007, to stockholders of record on June 30. The dividend rate is unchanged from the previous quarter.
In other Deere news, company senior management last week told an investors’ meeting that growth mandates for all three divisions will drive higher levels of investment. Deere highlighted its new tractor facility in Brazil, joint ventures and manufacturing operations in China, activities in water (drip irrigation) and wind, plus its acquisitions in landscapes and the geographic expansion of its credit operations.