Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV) (the "Company") announces the Southwest Airlines Board of Directors, at its meeting held today, increased the Company's quarterly dividend by 28 percent and authorized a new $2.0 billion share repurchase program. The quarterly dividend will increase to $.16 per share from $.125 per share, beginning with the 167th consecutive quarterly dividend declared today to Shareholders of record at the close of business on June 6, 2018, on all shares then issued and outstanding. The dividend will be paid on June 27, 2018.
Gary C. Kelly, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, stated: "Based on our solid financial results and strong cash flow outlook bolstered by tax reform savings, I'm pleased to announce the Board's decision today to increase our quarterly dividend by 28 percent. Annualized, the increased dividend amounts to more than $370 million1, and an approximate 1.2 percent dividend yield2, to our Shareholders. The Board also authorized a new $2.0 billion share repurchase program upon the completion of the remaining $350 million under the May 2017 $2.0 billion share repurchase authorization.
"This share repurchase authorization, combined with our annual dividends, reinforces our continued commitment to delivering increased value to Shareholders. We remain committed to maintaining an investment grade balance sheet and strong financial position that enables us to continue to make prudent investments in our People and business to drive long-term profitable growth and sustained brand strength."
The Company has repurchased approximately 19.8 million shares under the May 2017 $2.0 billion share repurchase authorization. On April 30, 2018, the Company launched a $500 million accelerated share repurchase program ("Second Quarter 2018 ASR Program"). The specific number of shares that the Company ultimately will repurchase under the Second Quarter 2018 ASR Program will be determined based generally on a discount to the volume-weighted average price per share of the Company's common stock during a calculation period to be completed no later than July 2018. Subsequent to the launch of the Second Quarter 2018 ASR Program, the Company has $350 million remaining under the May 2017 $2.0 billion share repurchase authorization.
The Company's future share repurchases under today's $2.0 billion repurchase authorization will be made in accordance with applicable securities laws in open market, private, or accelerated repurchase transactions from time to time, depending on market conditions, but may be discontinued at any time.