CINCINNATI, June 22, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- The Kroger Co.'s (NYSE: KR) Board of Directors today announced an incremental $1 billion share repurchase program, replacing the prior authorization which has been exhausted.
Kroger also announced that its Board today approved a dividend increase from 48¢ to 50¢ per year. The next quarterly dividend of 12.5 cents per share will be paid on September 1, 2017, to shareholders of record on the close of business on August 15, 2017.
Kroger's quarterly dividend has grown at a compound annual growth rate of 13.0% since it was reinstated in 2006. The company continues to expect an increasing dividend over time.
"Kroger's share repurchase authorization and dividend increase reflects our Board of Directors' confidence in our long-term strategy," said Rodney McMullen, Kroger's chairman and CEO. "Kroger has repurchased nearly half of the shares of the company and has returned approximately $14 billion to shareholders through share repurchases since January 2000. We are committed to delivering value that our shareholders can count on."
Kroger's strong financial position allowed the company to return more than $1.9 billion to shareholders through share buybacks and dividends over the last four quarters.
Kroger remains committed to balancing its use of cash flow over the near term to achieve the leverage ratio appropriate to maintain its current investment-grade debt rating.
At The Kroger Co., we are dedicated to our purpose: to Feed the Human Spirit™. We are 443,000 associates who serve eight and a half million customers every day in 2,792 retail food stores under a variety of local banner names in 35 states and the District of Columbia. Our Family of Companies operates an expanding ClickList offering – a personalized order online service – in addition to 2,255 pharmacies, 782 convenience stores, 311 fine jewelry stores, 220 retail health clinics, 1,453 supermarket fuel centers and 38 food production plants in the United States. Our Company has been recognized as one of America's most generous companies for its support of more than 100 Feeding America food bank partners, breast cancer research and awareness, the military and their families, and more than 145,000 community organizations including schools. As a leader in supplier diversity, we are a proud member of the Billion Dollar Roundtable.
This press release contains forward-looking statements, as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, about the future performance of the company. These statements are based on management's assumptions and beliefs in light of the information currently available to it. Such statements are indicated by the words "expect," "continues," and "committed." Our ability to continue to repurchase shares, fund dividends, and increase our dividend over time will be affected by our ability to generate free cash flow at the levels anticipated and our ability to generate expected operating results. These forward-looking statements are subject to uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially. We assume no obligation to update the information contained herein. Please refer to Kroger's reports and filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a further discussion of these risks and uncertainties.
SOURCE The Kroger Co.