Agilent Technologies Inc.
), a broad-based original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of test
and measurement equipment, has approved a new stock repurchase
program, to become effective after the existing $1 billion
repurchase program concludes.
Apart from rewarding the shareholders, the new program will
also reduce the dilution resulting from stocks issued as
compensation to its employees.
Additionally, the company announced its decision to raise the
quarterly dividend by 10% to 13.2 cents per share from 12 cents.
This translates into a 10% increase from the prior dividend. The
increased dividend will be paid on Jan 22, 2014, to stockholders
of record on Dec 31, 2013. Prior to this announcement, Agilent
had been paying a quarterly dividend of 12 cents per share.
Agilent's business model reflects the company's commitment
toward returning value to shareholders with its strong cash
generation capabilities. We believe that the continued share
buybacks and dividend hike will increase investors' enthusiasm
for the shares.
Agilent's strong balance sheet and cash flows provide
financial flexibility in matters of incremental dividend, share
repurchases and acquisitions. During the last concluded quarter,
Agilent paid dividend worth $39 million, but did not repurchase
The cash and cash equivalents were $2.68 billion at
quarter-end, having increased $345 million during the quarter.
The debt cap ratio was 33.8%. We remain encouraged by Agilent's
strong cash position and its ability to service its long-term
Agilent reported decent fiscal fourth-quarter results, with
both revenues and earnings per share surpassing our expectations.
We remain positive about Agilent's broader portfolio and
increased focus on segments with higher growth potential.
Currently, Agilent has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Other stocks
that look attractive at the moment are
SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc.
). All these stocks carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).
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