Apple Returning $55 Bln to Investors

Company boosts dividend and plans to borrow to finance share-repurchase program.

Apple Inc. forecast sales that missed analysts’ predictions and said it will return an additional $55 billion in cash to shareholders to compensate for a stock that’s been hammered by signs of slowing growth.

The company boosted its quarterly dividend and alloted more cash to buybacks, announcing plans to borrow funds for what it called the largest share-repurchase program in history. Apple will have returned $100 billion, including past buybacks and dividends, through 2015, the Cupertino, California-based company said yesterday in a statement.

Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said new products will come later this year and in throughout 2014, and he’s using more of the company’s $145 billion in cash and investments to reverse the slide that erased almost $280 billion in market capitalization since September. Concerns that Apple’s growth pace is slowing were reinforced by a forecast for narrowing gross margins and sales this quarter that may miss analysts’ predictions by as much as $4.9 billion.

Sales Forecast

Cook said on a conference call that while growth is slowing, it’s not the only metric Apple uses to judge success.

‘Compelling Proposition’

Cook faced pressure from investors including hedge fund manager David Einhorn of Greenlight Capital Inc. to return more of its cash. This was the first increase since Apple reinstated dividends last year.

Samsung Rivalry

The shares had gained 1.9 percent to $406.13 at the close in New York, and have tumbled 24 percent this year, making it the seventh-worst performer in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

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