Kroger Co. said Thursday its board of directors has approved a $1 billion share repurchase program, replacing the existing buyback program that has about $2 million remaining.

In addition, Kroger’s board approved a quarterly dividend of 16.5 cents per share, to be paid June 1.


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Kroger said it has spent more than $928 million of its free cash flow on buybacks and dividends in the last four quarters. Since 2000, Kroger said it has spent about $10 billion on share repurchases.

During 2013, Kroger purchased 16.1 million shares, for a total investment of $609 million. It had last announced a $500 million stock repurchase program in October of 2012.

The company ended 2013 with total debt of $10.9 billion, up $2.3 billion from the Harris Teeter acquisition.

Kroger began offering a dividend in 2007 after it had paid down a significant portion of the debt it had accumulated through mergers and acquisitions in the 1990s.

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