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Pfizer to help investors with dividend, buybacks

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News,Business,Pharmaceutical Industry,Pfizer

SHORT HILLS, N.J. (AP) — Pfizer Inc. CEO Ian Read says the drugmaker will keep working to boost shareholder value, with continuing stock buybacks and healthy dividends.

At Pfizer's annual meeting in Short Hills, N.J., the Viagra maker said it will pay a 26-cent second-quarter dividend. It raised the first-quarter dividend in December, from 24 to 26 cents a share.

Read told attendees New York-based Pfizer returned nearly $23 billion to shareholders last year, through buybacks and dividends.

The company said preliminary shareholder vote totals showed its 12 board members were re-elected. Stockholders backed two board-sponsored proposals — to approve Pfizer's 2014 stock plan and, in a nonbinding vote, to approve the top executives' compensation packages.

However, three shareholder proposals were rejected, including one to have the board review which political groups Pfizer supports.

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