UnitedHealth Lifts Dividend, Announces Buyback Plan

By FOXBusiness

UnitedHealth (NYSE:UNH) raised its dividend by more than 30% and announced a new plan to buy back 110 million shares.

The largest U.S. health insurer by market value lifted its quarterly cash dividend to 21.25 cents from a year-earlier 16.25 cents, to be paid on June 22 to shareholders of record on June 15.

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The Minnetonka, Minn.-based company’s board also authorized a new 110 million share buyback plan that replaces a similar-sized May 2011 plan that had about 33 million shares remaining.

The new deal represents more than 10% of its 1 billion shares outstanding.

UnitedHealth chief executive David Wichman said the actions reflect solid growth across its enterprise.

It’s a sign of confidence ahead of an expected ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court later this month on President Barack Obama’s new healthcare law. If passed, it’s expected send a wave a changes through the industry.