US chipmaker Qualcomm is to repurchase up to $15 billion of its common stock, as well as jack up the dividend it pays to shareholders by 14 per cent.

The new $15 billion programme replaces an existing one which only had a $2.1 billion authorisation remaining.

Qualcomm plans to buy back $10 billion of its own stock within the next 12 months, in addition to its current commitment to return a minimum of 75 per cent of its free cash flow to shareholders though stock repurchases and dividends.

The company is looking to finance its capital return programme mainly by borrowing from the public debt markets where interest rates are low.

CEO Steve Mollenkopf (pictured) said the expanded capital programme would not restrict Qualcomm from pursuing its strategic goals.

“Our business continues to generate substantial operating cash flow, and today’s announcement represents an important step in returning that cash to our owners while still preserving the strategic flexibility needed to drive stockholder value through growth,” he said.

The 14 per cent increase in Qualcomm’s quarterly cash dividend raises the dividend payment to $1.92 per share of common stock. The cash dividend will increase from $0.42 to $0.48 per share of common stock and will be effective for quarterly dividends payable after 25 March 2015.