March 9, 2015 / 8:26 PM / in 5 years

Qualcomm to buy back up to $15 bln of shares, raise dividend

The sign hanging outside the Qualcomm booth is seen at the International Consumer Electronics show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada in this January 6, 2015 file photo. REUTERS/Rick Wilking/Files

(Reuters) - Chipmaker Qualcomm Inc said it would buy back up to $15 billion of shares and raise its quarterly dividend.

Shares of the company, which said it would buy back up to $10 billion of shares in the next 12 months, rose 2.6 percent to $74.60 in extended trading on Monday.

Qualcomm also raised its quarterly dividend to 48 cents per share from 42 cents, effective March 25.

The company said it would finance its capital return program mainly through borrowings from the public debt markets this year.

The new buyback plan replaces the previous program, which had $2.1 billion authorization remaining, Qualcomm said.

The company had raised the size of its share buyback plan in March last year to $7.8 billion from $2.8 billion.

Qualcomm said on Monday it would continue to return at least 75 percent of its free cash flow to shareholders annually.

The chipmaker distributed $7.1 billion, or 93 percent of its free cash flow, to shareholders in the year ended September 2014.

Reporting by Lehar Maan in Bengaluru; Editing by Kirti Pandey

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