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Apple to return an extra $50bn to investors

Announcement comes as Apple’s shares take a dip on worse-than-expected quarterly results that saw a fall in iPhone sales

Apple has posted revenue of $52.9bn for the quarter ending 1 April 2017, up 5% compared with the same period a year ago, while net income was also up 5% to $11bn.

The iPhone continued to be the biggest driver of revenue, pulling in $33.25bn from the sale of 50.8 million units, but this was 1% down on the same quarter a year ago.

Apple chief Tim Cook said the quarter was “strong” revenue growth accelerating from the December quarter and continued “robust demand” for the more expensive iPhone 7 Plus, which helped push revenues up 1% despite the fall in the number of units sold.

Although iPad sales revenue was down 12% year on year, Mac revenue was up 14%. Revenue for all other products, including Apple TV, Apple Watch, Beats products, iPod and Apple-branded and third-party accessories, was also up 31% year on year to $2.9bn.

However, investors had higher overall expectations, sending shares down nearly 2% in after-hours trading, according to the BBC.

Cook attributed the slowdown in iPhone sales to customers waiting for the 10th anniversary iPhone due later in 2017.

Cook also pointed to the strong performance of Apple’s services division. “We are thrilled with the strong momentum of our Services business, with our highest revenue ever for a 13-week quarter,” he said.

Revenue from Apple’s Services division, which includes Digital Content and Services, AppleCare, Apple Pay, licensing and other services, was up 18% year on year to $7bn.

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Apple also announced that its board of directors has authorised an increase of $50bn in the company’s programme to return capital to shareholders and it is extending the programme by four quarters. Under the expanded programme, Apple plans to spend a cumulative total of $300bn by the end of March 2019.

“We generated strong operating cash flow of $12.5bn and returned over $10bn to our investors in the March quarter,” said Luca Maestri, Apple’s CFO. “Given the strength of our business and our confidence in our future, we are happy to announce another $50bn increase to our capital return programme today.”

As part of the latest update to the programme, the board has increased its share repurchase authorisation to $210bn from the $175bn level announced a year ago.

The board has also approved a 10.5% increase in the company’s quarterly dividend, and has declared a dividend of $0.63 per share of its common stock, payable on 18 May, 2017.

Since its capital return programme began in August 2012, Apple said it has returned more than $211bn to shareholders, including $151bn in share repurchases.

The company forecast total revenue of between $43.5bn and $45.5bn for the current quarter, while analysts, on average, were expecting $45.6bn, according to Thomson Reuters.

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