SOUTHFIELD, Mich., Feb. 7, 2019 -- Lear Corporation, a leading global supplier of automotive seating and electrical and electronic systems, today announced that its Board of Directors has authorized an increase in the Company's share repurchase authorization to $1.5 billion and extended the authorization period until December 31, 2021. In addition, the Board raised the quarterly cash dividend on the Company's common stock by 7% from $0.70 per share to $0.75 per share. The next dividend is payable on March 20, 2019, to shareholders of record at the close of business on March 1, 2019.
"The Lear Board of Directors fully supports the Company's capital allocation priorities of investing in the business to improve competitiveness and drive profitable growth, maintaining a strong and flexible balance sheet, and consistently returning excess cash to shareholders," said Henry D. G. Wallace, Lear's Non-Executive Chairman. "The shareholder actions announced today are consistent with this strategy and demonstrate the confidence Lear's Board has in the Company's outlook."
At the end of 2018, Lear had $800 million remaining on its share repurchase authorization. As a result of today's action, Lear's total available share repurchase authorization is now $1.5 billion. Since the Company began its share repurchase and dividend programs in 2011, Lear has returned approximately $4.9 billion to shareholders, including the repurchase of approximately 46% of the Company's shares outstanding as of the commencement of its share repurchase program.
Lear may implement share repurchases under its share repurchase authorization utilizing a variety of methods, including open market purchases, accelerated share repurchase programs, privately negotiated transactions and structured repurchase transactions. Share repurchases are subject to the Company's discretion with respect to alternative uses of capital, as well as prevailing financial, market and industry conditions.
Lear's 2019 Annual Stockholders Meeting will be held on May 16, 2019, at 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time, at the Company's corporate headquarters, 21557 Telegraph Road, Southfield, Michigan 48033. The record date for determining eligibility to vote at the 2019 Annual Meeting is March 21, 2019.
Lear Corporation is one of the world's leading suppliers of automotive seating and electrical and electronic systems. Lear serves every major automaker in the world, and Lear content can be found on more than 400 vehicle nameplates. Lear's world-class products are designed, engineered and manufactured by a diverse team of approximately 169,000 employees located in 39 countries. Lear currently ranks #148 on the Fortune 500. Lear's headquarters are in Southfield, Michigan. Further information about Lear is available at lear.com or follow us on Twitter @LearCorporation. Lear is where passion drives possibilities.