Biotechnology company Amgen Inc. said Thursday it will start paying a quarterly dividend in the second quarter, and plans to pay about 20 percent of its adjusted annual profit in dividends.
The company had been expected to declare its first dividend. Amgen said it will raise its dividend "meaningfully" over time.
Amgen is also boosting its stock repurchases by another $5 billion. The company had $2.2 billion remaining on its last stock buyback authorization. By 2015, the company said it will return an average of 60 percent of its adjusted profit to shareholders through dividends and stock repurchases.
Amgen, which reported its first-quarter earnings Wednesday, said it expects its adjusted profit to grow to between $7.25 and $8.60 per share in 2015, with revenue rising to a range of $16 billion to $18 billion. It forecast sales of its new bone drugs Prolia and Xgeva should reach $3 billion to $4 billion that year. The company also expects $1 billion in annual sales from new and emerging products by that year.
For 2011, Amgen expects a profit of $5 to $5.20 per share on $15.1 billion to $15.5 billion in revenue.
The company reported its quarterly results after the market closed Wednesday. Its profit and revenue both surpassed analyst forecasts. The company said sales of Xgeva, which is used to prevent bone fractures in patients with cancer that has spread to the bone, totaled $42 million. Sales of Prolia, which is approved as a treatment for osteoporosis in postmenopausal women, totaled $27 million.
The March quarter was the first full quarter of marketing for both drugs, which are known chemically as denosumab but are marketed under separate names.
Amgen shares fell $1.58, or 2.8 percent, to $54.60 in morning trading.