WASHINGTON (dpa-AFX) - L Brands Inc. (LB) said it raised its first quarter earnings per share guidance, due to strong sales and margin results quarter-to-date, which also contributed to an improvement in its expectations for the remainder of the quarter.
In Friday pre-market trade, LB was trading at $58.52 up $2.67 or 4.78 percent.
The company increased its first quarter earnings per share guidance to a range of $0.55 - $0.65 from the prior range of $0.35 - $0.45. The outlook excludes any charges related to the early extinguishment of debt. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expect the company to report earnings of $0.43 per share for the first-quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.
The company said its board authorized the repayment of $1.035 billion of debt through a call of all $285 million of the outstanding bonds due February 15, 2022 and all $750 million of the outstanding secured bonds due July 1, 2025. The company anticipates using $1.1 billion in cash to complete the debt repayment.
The company board also authorized a new $500 million share repurchase plan. It includes the company's entry into a Rule 10b5-1 repurchase plan to effectuate share repurchases up to $250 million. The new repurchase plan replaces the remaining $79 million under the previously authorized program.
The company board also authorized a reinstatement of the company's annual dividend at $0.60 per share, beginning with the quarterly dividend to be paid in June 2021.
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