US company Chevron Corp. plans to buy back $75 billion in shares and increase dividends after a year of record profits.
The company said in a statement on Wednesday that the share buyback program will begin on April 1 and will be three times the size of the previous authorization disclosed in early 2019. The program is roughly a quarter of the company’s market value and five times the current level of annual buybacks.
Although Chevron’s plan pales in comparison to the $89 billion Apple earmarked for buybacks last year, a White House spokesperson said: “For a company that claimed not so long ago that it was working hard to increase oil production, a $75 billion handout certainly counts.” CEOs and wealthy shareholders have a strange way of showing it. “We continue to call on oil companies to use their record profits to increase supply and reduce costs for the American people,” he said in a statement issued on Wednesday evening.
The company will also pay investors $1.51 per share on March 10, up 6.3% from the previous quarter.
Chevron raised share buybacks several times last year as oil prices soared, but Chief Financial Officer Pierre Breber vowed to maintain the buyback rate even as commodity prices fell. With net debt rates currently below the company’s target range, Breber said last year, Chevron is willing to allow borrowing levels to rise to continue buying stock if necessary.
The company announced last year that capital spending for 2023 would be at the high end of the guidance range at $17 billion. Chevron is scheduled to report fourth-quarter results on January 27.