UPDATE 1-Lilly initiates new $1.5 bln stock-repurchase program

Mon Dec 17, 2012 5:51pm EST

* Buyback plan follows completion of prior $3 billion plan

* Sets $0.49 first quarter dividend

Dec 17 (Reuters) - Eli Lilly and Co on Monday said its board of directors had authorized a new $1.5 billion share-repurchase plan that the U.S. drugmaker expects to complete in 2013.

The company said the initiative follows a $3 billion stock-buyback program that was started in 2000 but was not completed until this year.

Lilly in June said it expected to complete by the end of 2012 the remaining $420 million in share repurchases from the earlier $3 billion program. The company said it would then resume "systematic" share repurchases, the first of which was announced late on Monday in a press release.

The company, whose sales and earnings are expected to plunge through 2014 due to generic competition for its biggest medicines, on Monday also declared a dividend of $0.49 per share for the first quarter of 2013.

The annual yield from its dividend is more than 4 percent, one of the highest in the drug industry, and has kept many investors aboard during the company's ongoing patent cliff.

Shares of Lilly were up 0.4 percent to $48.55 in after-hours trading, from their closing price of $48.34 Monday on the New York Stock Exchange.