During management’s March quarter conference call with analysts, Apple CFO Luca Maestri announced the company had completed roughly $80 billion of the planned $140 billion in share repurchases. The average price at which shares had been repurchased was stated as $85.
To put the $80 billion in repurchases in perspective, I have charted the fully diluted share count for fiscal years 2005 through 2014 and added the fully diluted share count as reported in the March quarter 10-Q filing by the company.
The graph below illustrates the fact the fully diluted share count as of the end of the recent March quarter is below the fully diluted share count at the beginning of this nearly ten-year period on a split-adjusted basis. With $60 billion in additional repurchases to be made through the March quarter of FY2017, Apple has turned back the clock on what might be called “share creep” from stock-based compensation and other distributions of new shares.
By the end of the recent March quarter the company had reduced the fully diluted share count by 11.83% since FY2012 or over a period of ten fiscal quarters. The fully diluted share count will continue to diminish as management exhausts the remaining $60 billion in repurchases over the next eight fiscal quarters.
The ongoing reduction in the fully diluted share count will continue to amplify the impact of the company’s rising net income on reported earnings per share.