International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) announced today that its board has approved an additional $5 billion of share repurchase program, and increased the quarterly dividend by 12 percent. The Armonk, New York-based company will pay a dividend of 95 cents a share on June 10 to shareholders of record on May 10. With the additional $5 billion, International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM)’s repurchase program has reached $11.2 billion.
IBM CEO Ginni Rometty wants to woo shareholders by returning more cash after the company’s disappointing first quarter earnings which missed Wall Street estimates. It was the first time since 2005 that International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) results fell short of analysts’ expectations.
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The company reported first quarter net profit of $3.03 billion or $2.70 per share, compared to $3.07 billion in the same period of 2012. Revenues were also down 5.15 to $23.41 billion. Analysts were expecting $3.05 a share in earnings and $24.62 billion in revenues.
Barclays said in a research report today that the immigration reform bill could increase International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM)’s competitiveness over Indian outsourcers. IBM is expected to benefit from legislation in two major ways.
One, the bill will increase the current number of H-1B visas from 65,000 to 110,000. It may further be increased to 180,000 depending upon the demand of high-skilled workers. It will allow IBM Corp. to hire more foreign workers.
Second, the bill also places a restriction on H-1B visas for those companies that have a high ratio of employees with these visas, negatively affecting Indian vendors. By 2016, the company won’t be permitted to hire more than 50 percent of employees on L-1 or H-1B visas. Additionally, the companies will have to pay higher salaries to such employees. Fees will be increased from $2,500 to $5,000 per additional employee if 30-50 percent of a company’s employees work in the U.S. on H-1B visas. If a company has over 50 percent of employees on H-1B visas, it will have to pay $10,000 (previous fee $5,000) per additional employee. The additional cost burden on Indian companies will directly benefit International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM).
Barclays PLC (NYSE:BCS) (LON:BARC) has Overweight rating on the stock with $225 price target. International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) shares were up 0.76 percent to $200.49 at 12:02 PM EDT.