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IP announces $2B share repurchase program, decreases cash dividend 9.8%

International Paper announced Oct. 12 its board of directors had authorized a share repurchase program to acquire up to $2 billion of the company’s common stock. 

The news release continued by stating that the new authorization is in addition to $1.3 billion remaining as of the end of the third quarter from a previous repurchase authorization. 

During the third quarter the company repurchased approximately $212 million in common stock at an average price of $59.13 per share. 

The company intends to continue repurchasing such shares in open market transactions. 

The company’s board of directors also decreased the quarterly common stock dividend by 5 cents per share or 9.8%, which brings the per share dividend to $1.85 annually.

“Returning cash to shareowners through dividends and share repurchases is a meaningful part of our capital allocation framework,” International Paper Chairman and CEO Mark Sutton said Oct. 12. “Today’s announcement reflects our confidence in International Paper’s long-term outlook and strong free cash flow generation. We are committed to a competitive and sustainable dividend of 40-50% of free cash flow. The dividend adjustment we are making is consistent with our dividend policy and is well below the 15-20% adjustment we anticipated when we announced the spin-off of our printing papers business late last year. Additionally, share repurchases will continue to complement dividends with a consistent and thoughtful cadence that’s underpinned by a commitment to maximize value creation.”

The dividend is being decreased by 9.8% from $0.5125 to $0.4625 per share for the period from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31, inclusive, on the company’s common stock, par value $1. This dividend is payable on Dec. 15 to holders of record at the close of business on Nov. 15. 

The company’s board of directors also declared a regular quarterly dividend of $1 per share for the period from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31, inclusive, on the cumulative $4 preferred stock of the company. This dividend is also payable on Dec. 15 to holders of record at the close of business on Nov. 15.