* 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.