KALAMAZOO, Mich., Dec. 8, 2010 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Stryker Corporation (NYSE: SYK) announced today that its Board of Directors has increased its dividend by 20% by declaring a quarterly dividend of $0.18 per share payable on January 31, 2011, to shareholders of record at the close of business on December 31, 2010.
Stryker also announced today that its Board of Directors has authorized the Company to repurchase an additional $500 million of its common stock. The manner, timing and amount of any purchases will be determined by the Company's management based on their evaluation of market conditions, stock price and other factors and will be subject to regulatory considerations. Purchases may be made from time to time in the open market, in privately negotiated transactions or otherwise.
The strength of Stryker's balance sheet and considerable cash flow allow for the return of significant value to shareholders through both dividends and share repurchases while simultaneously making the necessary investments that will drive continued sales and earnings growth. Since the start of 2010, Stryker has returned approximately $238 million to shareholders through dividends. In addition, under the existing $750 million share repurchase program, the Company has repurchased approximately $410 million as of December 7, 2010, of which approximately $300 million was purchased since the beginning of the fourth quarter.
"Our strong performance in 2010 has allowed us to both meaningfully boost our R&D spending, while also continuing our pattern over the last few years of consistently and significantly increasing our dividend," said Stephen P. MacMillan, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Stryker. "The 20% dividend increase, coupled with the additional share repurchase authorization resulting from our strong cash flow generati