Reuters

(Reuters)

Delta OKs $5B Buyback Plan, Hikes Dividend

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Delta Air Lines Inc announced a new $5 billion share buyback program and raised its quarterly dividend, aimed at returning more than $6 billion to shareholders through 2017.

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Delta shares rose 2.6 percent to $47.30 in trading before the bell on Wednesday.

The company raised its quarterly dividend to 13.5 cents per share from 9 cents, effective from the third quarter.

Delta said it was on-track to complete the remaining $725 million from its previous $2 billion buyback program by June 30, one and a half years ahead of schedule.

The company's Chief Executive Richard Anderson had said in December that the airline would invest a minimum of $1.5 billion in buybacks and dividends in 2015.

Delta, in February, paid out nearly $1.1 billion as profit sharing for 2014 for its employees, the largest in its history.

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Up to Tuesday's close, Delta's stock had fallen about 6 percent this year. (Reporting by Rohit T. K. in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza)