PEMBROKE, Bermuda--(BUSINESS WIRE)--AXIS Capital Holdings Limited ("AXIS Capital") (NYSE:AXS) today announced that the Company’s Board of Directors has authorized the repurchase up to $750 million of the Company’s common shares. The Board has authorized the Company to effect repurchases under this new plan in open market or privately negotiated transactions through December 31, 2016, depending on market conditions. This new repurchase authorization, effective January 1, 2015, will replace the existing authorization, which currently has approximately $268 million in remaining authorization available through December 31, 2015.
The Company’s Board of Directors also declared a quarterly dividend of $0.29 per common share, which represents an increase of 7.4%. The common dividend will be payable on January 15, 2015 to the shareholders of record at the close of business on December 31, 2014.
In addition, the Board declared a dividend of $1.875 per Series B Preferred Share, a dividend of $0.429688 per Series C Preferred Share and a dividend of $0.34375 per Series D Preferred Share. The Series B Preferred Share dividend is payable on March 2, 2015 to shareholders of record at the close of business on February 13, 2015. The Series C Preferred Share dividend is payable on January 15, 2015 to shareholders of record at the close of business on December 31, 2014. The Series D Preferred Share dividend is payable on March 2, 2015 to shareholders of record at the close of business on February 13, 2015.
Albert Benchimol, President and Chief Executive Officer of AXIS Capital, said: “AXIS Capital has a long track record of executing on a capital management strategy that benefits all of our stakeholders. This 7.4% increase in our common dividend represents the eleventh consecutive annual dividend increase since we declared our first dividend following our initial public offering in 2003. Another important tool in capital management is the return of capital through share repurchases. Over the eleven years since our IPO, AXIS Capital has repurchased approximately 92 million shares in open market or private transactions for a total of $3.2 billion. So far in 2014, we have already purchased 10.5 million shares at a total cost of $482 million, out of the $750 million authorization granted last December. This increase in dividend and new share repurchase authorization enhance our capacity to return capital to our shareholders into 2015.”
AXIS Capital is a Bermuda-based global provider of specialty lines insurance and treaty reinsurance with shareholders’ equity attributable to AXIS Capital at September 30, 2014 of $5.8 billion and locations in Bermuda, the United States, Europe, Singapore, Canada, Australia and Latin America. Its operating subsidiaries have been assigned a rating of “A+” (“Strong”) by Standard & Poor’s and “A+” (“Superior”) by A.M. Best. For more information about AXIS Capital, visit our website at www.axiscapital.com.