Energy giant Chevron announced a $75 billion stock buyback program and a dividend hike on Wednesday evening.
Shares of Chevron were up more than 2% in extended trading.
The buyback program will become effective on April 1, with no set expiration date, the company said in a press release. The dividend hike increases Chevron’s per share payout to $1.51 from $1.42, and that will be distributed on March 10.
Chevron’s market cap was roughly $350 billion as of Wednesday’s market close, meaning that the buyback would represent more than 20% of the company’s stock at current prices.
This buyback plan follows a $25 billion plan enacted in 2019. The old plan will be terminated at the end of March. For the third quarter of 2022 — the most recent quarter that Chevron has reported — the company repurchased $3.75 billion of shares.
The new buyback plan comes after a massive year for energy stocks, as a reopened U.S. economy and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine combined to drive oil and gas prices higher in 2022. Chevron reported more than $12 billion of free cash flow and $11 billion of net income in the third quarter alone.
Shares of Chevron rose more than 50% in 2022 even as the broader stock market declined.
The financial success of energy companies has led to criticism from politicians, including U.S. President Joe Biden, who threatened higher taxes on energy companies last year for their “war profiteering.”
Chevron CEO Mike Wirth told CNBC in December that the company was “in contact” with the Biden administration on a variety of issues.
“Our goal of stable markets and prices that are affordable for the economy is something we share. How we get there, sometimes we have different ideas,” Wirth said on “Squawk Box.”