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IBM Authorizes Addl. $5 Bln Stock Buyback; Declares Qtly Dividend

Information technology giant International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) said Tuesday that its board has authorized additional funds of $5 billion for stock repurchases, and also declared a regular quarterly cash dividend.

"Our strategy to deliver high value solutions drives profit, earnings per share and cash growth. We have achieved outstanding shareholder returns over the last decade and we are positioned well for the future," Chairman, President and CEO Virginia Rometty said in a statement.

Armonk, New York-based IBM noted that the current stock repurchase authorization is in addition to about $6.7 billion remaining at the end of September from its prior authorization announced in April 2012.

IBM will now have about $11.7 billion for its stock repurchase program. The company also said it expects to request additional share repurchase authorization at the April 2013 board meeting.

IBM said it will repurchase shares on the open market or in private transactions from time to time, depending on market conditions.

IBM, which has boosted its quarterly dividend by more than 400 percent since 2003, also declared a regular quarterly cash dividend of $0.85 per share, payable on December 10 to stockholders of record November 9, 2012.

The dividend payment in December will see IBM paying consecutive quarterly dividends every year since 1916.

IBM, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in May 2011, announced earlier in mid-October a profit for the third-quarter that marginally declined from last year as demand for its hardware and services waned in key regions, leading to a 5.4 percent drop in revenues, adding fears that economic weaknesses will continue to put pressure on tech companies.

IBM also proceeded with its succession plan, with CEO Virginia Rometty taking over as chairman recently in place of Samuel Palmisano, whose long run at the company catapulted it into an information technology powerhouse.

IBM's net income reached $3.82 billion or $3.33 per share, and quarterly revenues declined to $24.75 billion from last year's $26.12.

IBM closed Friday's regular trading session at $193.27, up $1.67 or 0.87% on a volume of 4.01 million shares.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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