A Medical Device Daily

The board of Medtronic (Minneapolis) has approved a 9% increase in its cash dividend for fiscal 2010, raising the quarterly amount to 20.5 cents per share of the company's common stock, for an annual amount of 82 cents per share.

In addition, the board approved an increase in its share repurchase plan, authorizing Medtronic to purchase an additional 60 million shares of its common stock, representing about 5.4% of the company's total basic shares of common stock outstanding during the quarterly period ending April 24.

"Today's actions demonstrate both the board of directors' and management's strong confidence in the long-term strength of the company's cash flow generation and continued commitment to returning capital to shareholders," said Chairman/CEO Bill Hawkins. "Our on-going commitment to return a minimum of 40% to 50% of our free cash flow to shareholders each year allows us to offer Medtronic investors enhanced returns through dividend increases and ongoing share repurchases, while also making disciplined, strategic investments for sustainable earnings growth."

In fiscal 2009, Medtronic said it continued its track-record of strong financial results, generating $3.9 billion in operating cash flow, of which $1.6 billion was returned to shareholders in the form of dividends and share repurchases.

The company said this most recent increase marks the 23rd consecutive year of increased dividend payments and 33 years of uninterrupted dividend payments. In the past four years, Medtronic's dividend has more than doubled and the company has repurchased $6.9 billion of common stock, or 138 million shares.

The dividend is payable on July 31, to shareholders of record at the close of business on July 10. Under its repurchase plan, Medtronic may make purchases from time to time through the open market.