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VOL. 36 | NO. 9 | Friday, March 2, 2012




AutoZone boosts stock buyback by $750 million

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MEMPHIS (AP) — Automotive replacement part chain AutoZone Inc. said Wednesday it plans to boost its stock buyback program by $750 million.

Chief Financial Officer Bill Giles said AutoZone's strong performance will let it buy back stock without hurting its debt rating.

Companies often buy back stock as a way to reward shareholders. With fewer shares on the market, each remaining shareholder gets a bigger share of the profits when they are divvied up.

Last month AutoZone reported that its fiscal second-quarter net income jumped 13 percent from the year before as revenue rose and profit margins improved. The company opened 29 new stores in the United States and six in Mexico during the quarter, bringing its total to 4,867.

The company did not say Wednesday how much stock it was authorized to buy under the repurchasing program before it was boosted. AutoZone did not immediately return messages seeking comment.

Since 1998, the company has authorized repurchases of $11.9 billion including the $750 million it just announced, the company said.

Shares of AutoZone fell $1.49 to close at $383.74 in regular trading, then added 28 cents to $384.02 in after-hours trading. Earlier in trading the stock set a 52-week high of $385.99.

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