Nike Boosts Shareholders' Return


In a bid to enhance shareholders’ value, Nike Inc. (NKE) recently announced that its Board of Directors has agreed to enhance its share repurchase program. Under the new authorization, the company will repurchase $8 billion worth of its Class B common stock over a period of four years. As of August 31, 2012, Nike had nearly 361 million shares of Class B common stock.

Currently, the company is on the verge of completing its ongoing $5 billion share repurchase program, which was authorized in September 2008. The company’s decision to increase its share repurchases authorization clearly suggests its ability to generate liquidity and its potential to improve in the long run.

Nike has always been improvising its shareholders’ wealth through share repurchase and dividend policies. It has repurchased approximately 167 million shares and returned more than $10 billion to its shareholders over the past ten years.

Nike, which competes with Adidas AG-ADR (ADDYY) and Brown Shoe Company Inc. (BWS), has been actively managing its cash flows by generating healthy free cash, making prudent capital investments and enhancing shareholders’ return. The company repurchased shares worth of $245 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012 and ended with cash and cash equivalents of $2,317 million.

Further, Nike is going to report its first quarter fiscal 2013 results on September 27, 2012. The current Zacks Consensus Estimated earnings and sales for the quarter stand at $1.12 per share and $6,425 million, respectively.

Nike is the industry leader in the U.S. footwear and athletic apparel industry. In an attempt to expand its global reach and market share, it is aggressively expanding its operations in the emerging markets while focusing on direct-to-consumer business and other brands, which augur well for future operating performance. In fiscal year 2012, Nike showed significant strength by innovating its products and services that helped boost its top lines. Moreover, the company’s near-to-debt free balance sheet offers financial flexibility driving future growth.

Currently, Nike maintains a Zacks #2 Rank, which translates into a short-term Buy rating.

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