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Synchrony Financial (SYF) Ups Buyback to Add Shareholder Value

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·4 min read
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In a bid to enhance shareholder value, Synchrony Financial SYF announced that its board of directors sanctioned a share repurchase program of up to $2.9 billion. This new plan started Apr 1, 2021 and will continue through Jun 30, 2022. The share buyback program supersedes the existing plan of $1.6 billion announced on Jan 29, 2021.

Continued share buybacks clearly hint at the company’s sound capital position despite the ongoing coronavirus crisis, which compelled most companies to temporarily suspend their share buyback programs. Notably, repurchases are also likely to provide a boost to the company’s bottom line.

Not only share buybacks, Synchrony Financial also remains committed to boost its shareholder value via dividend hikes. This currently Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) financial miscellaneous services provider is paying out dividends to its shareholders consistently. It intends to maintain the quarterly cash dividend of 22 cents per share. Such initiatives not only reflect the operational and financial strength of the company but also make its stock attractive to yield-seeking investors. Its dividend yield stands at 1.9%, higher than the industry’s average of 1.1%.

Also, its return on equity — a profitability measure to adjudge the company’s efficiency in utilizing its shareholders’ funds — is 18.8%, better than the industry average of 17.7%.

Despite the current economic volatility, the company returned $328 million worth of capital to its stockcholders during the first quarter. It constantly makes efforts to add to shareholders’ funds. In 2020, the company returned $1.5 billion to its shareholders despite the COVID-19 situation. Thus, it is actively managing its liquidity position notwithstanding the current situation.

A solid financial position backed by balance sheet strength and robust cash flows over the years enabled this leading industry player to support growth initiatives and its prudent capital allocation. The company had cash and cash equivalents worth $16.2 billion at the end of the March quarter of 2021.

The company’s balance sheet was consistently strong during the reported quarter with total liquidity of $28 billion (liquid assets and undrawn credit facilities) accounting for 29.2% of its total assets.

Synchrony Financial continues to maintain a sturdy risk-adjusted return on capital, aided by a stable cash position and judicious capital deployment. This recent move further reinforces the company’s sound financial prospects.

Price Performance

Shares of this company have soared a whopping 116.7% in a year’s time compared with the industry’s rally of 7.5%. Moreover, several factors, such as its capital position, restructuring initiatives and solid Retail Card and CareCredit platforms will likely sustain the stock upsurge going forward.

Stocks to Consider

Better-ranked stocks in the same space include Alerus Financial Corporation ALRS, Intercorp Financial Services Inc. IFS and Moodys Corporation MCO. While Alerus Financial sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Intercorp Financial and Moodys hold a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) at present. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Alerus Financial, Intercorp Financial and Moodys delivered a trailing four-quarter surprise of 71.4%, 257% and 22.3%, respectively, on average.

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