In a move to reward investors, tech giant Apple has approved an additional $30 billion share buyback by 2015 and declared a seven-for-one stock split on the back of strong iPhone sales that pushed its March quarter profit up 7 per cent.

Apple increased its share repurchase authorisation to $90 billion from the $60 billion level announced last year, it said in a statement. The firm also approved an 8 per cent increase in quarterly dividend to $3.29 per share.

“We are confident in Apple’s future and see tremendous value in Apple’s stock, so we’re continuing to allocate the majority of our programme to share repurchases. We are also happy to be increasing our dividend for the second time in less than two years,” Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said.

Apple has spent $66 billion in cash on its capital return programme between August 2012 and March 2014.

The Cupertino, California-based firm will return more than $130 billion to shareholders by the end of 2015, up from its previous target of $100 billion.

For the second quarter ended March 29, 2014, Apple posted a 7.4 per cent growth in net profit of $10.2 billion and 4.6 per cent in revenue at $45.6 billion. Apple exceeded its revenue forecast of $42 billion to $44 billion in second quarter of 2014.

“We are very proud of our quarterly results, especially our strong iPhone sales and record revenue from services. We are eagerly looking forward to introducing more new products and services that only Apple could bring to market,” Apple CEO said.

The company expects revenue of between $36 billion and $38 billion in the third quarter.

“We generated $13.5 billion in cash flow from operations and returned almost $21 billion in cash to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases during the March quarter,” Apple Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer said. That brings cumulative payments under the capital return programme to $66 billion, he added.

The Americas accounted for over 31 per cent of Apple’s revenue, while Europe contributed 22.4 per cent, Greater China 20 per cent, Japan 8.6 per cent and the rest of Asia Pacific 5.7 per cent.

Apple sold 43.71 million iPhones, accounting for $26.06 billion of revenue, beating expectations of a slowdown in sales of the smartphone.

Apple sold 16.35 million units of iPad, 4.13 million units of Mac and 2.76 million units of iPod.

Globally, the iPhone faces tough competition from smartphones running on Google’s Android operating system.

In January, Apple started selling iPhones through China Mobile, the world’s largest telecom player, which has more than 770 million subscribers.

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