Safeway (NYSE: SWY ) announced today its board of directors has authorized the company to repurchase up to an additional $2 billion of the company's stock. This amount will be added to $800 million still available for stock repurchases under the previously announced repurchase plan.
Through the first three quarters of 2013, Safeway had not repurchased any stock. In 2012 the company repurchased almost 58 million shares of its common stock for a total of $1.2 billion, at an average cost of $21.51 per share. As of this writing, Safeway stock was trading at $33.50 per share.
Safeway added the buybacks will be contingent on market conditions and also added that the authorization for the buyback plan has no expiration date. In addition it highlighted "the stock repurchase program may be accelerated, suspended, delayed or discontinued at any time."
Last week, Safeway announced it would exit the Chicago market, where it operates 72 Dominick's stores, by early 2014. The company said it would use money from the sales to buy back shares as well as money from the planned sale of its Canadian operations.