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MasterCard Doubles Quarterly Dividend, Board Approves $2B Buyback Plan

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Mastercard Inc (NYSE:MA) announced Tuesday that it had doubled its quarterly dividend to 60 cents. This move was coupled with the approval of a $2 billion stock buyback program. In a statement issued on Tuesday, MasterCard CEO, Ajay Banga remarked that the company’s strong financial performance allowed it to increase its return to shareholders. Banga, however, noted that despite the move, MasterCard would remain focused on executing its strategy and growing its business.

Going by the statement, Mastercard Inc (NYSE:MA) will pay the dividend on May 9th to holders of its Class A and Class B common stock as at April 9th. MasterCard, which is the second biggest U.S payments network after Visa Inc (NYSE:V), reported impressive earnings last week, beating analysts’ estimates and increasing 2012 profit by 15 percent.

As of February last year, Mastercard Inc (NYSE:MA)’s quarterly dividend payout was 15 cents. This move therefore marks the second time in the past year that MasterCard’s board has signed off to doubling its dividend payout; signaling MasterCard’s undisguised efforts to enhance shareholder value.

MasterCard’s new 60 cents dividend payout will be far much higher than Visa’s current 33 cents payout, which incidentally was increased from 22 cents in December.

Moving over to the $2 billion buyback program, the company’s board gave a green light to the firm, authorizing it to repurchase as much as $2 billion of Class A stock. According to the statement, the repurchase program will kick off once MasterCard wraps up its current $1.5 billion plan which, as of January 25th, had $440 million remaining.

Focus on developing markets

In an attempt to edge out bigger competitor, Visa Inc (NYSE:V), and aggressive Chinese big wig, UnionPay, CEO Banga intends to secure a larger share of the potent electronic payments-processing market, particularly so in developing countries with high growth potential. As it is, most consumers in developing countries are experiencing a shifting inclination from cash to plastic.

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