MP3 – Message

WASHINGTON — A week after it raised its quarterly dividend, Wal-mart has pulled back on its borrowing spree and cut back on buying back stock and debt, giving it a $12.2 billion cash cushion to cover dividend payments.

The company’s $10.7 billion dividend payment is $6.8 billion less than the $12 billion it gave in 2015.

The $12 million dividend is just over 1% of Wal-marts total revenue, but that’s a far cry from the $19 billion the company reported last year.

“This is a good start to a very important dividend,” Wal-Marts Chief Financial Officer Joe Bensch said.

“I think it will help our shareholders.”

In an email to investors, Bensh said that the company would use $5.2 million in cash from the dividend to help cover costs and repay loans, including $1.2 a share of non-current debt from Bank of America, $1 billion in long-term debt from Goldman Sachs and $2.4 billion in other non-cash loans from JPMorgan Chase.

The dividend payout was announced Aug. 10 and Wal- Mart said it raised it by 1.5% to 2.8% on Aug. 15.

The shares rose about 8% over the day to $79.83.

The stock is down almost $5 since the company’s July earnings report.

Wal- marts cash reserves rose to $9.6 billion, a big improvement from $8.9 billion a year ago.

The dividends also came with a few caveats.

Walmarts debt-service ratio, or its ability to pay interest on money that Wal- mart has borrowed from banks, rose from 5.5 to 6.5 percentage points.

The ratio is the percentage of the company that Walmars liabilities are financed with cash.

The debt-servicing ratio has risen to 15.9% from 12.4%.

And Wal- Marts share repurchase program, which buys back shares in the company for cash, fell to $1,724 million from $2,837 million a year earlier.

The repurchase plans were boosted by Wal- mar’s decision to cut back its spending on capital equipment.

Walmart is cutting $100 million from its planned capital spending.

“We believe the program will be successful and help us accelerate our plans to reduce capital expenditures,” Benswas wrote in the email.

The biggest surprise was the announcement that WalMart had started to pay dividends to its workers, a move that could help the company avoid a repeat of last year’s crisis in which workers in the U.S. and Canada were laid off.

In its earnings release earlier this week, WalMart said its dividend would be paid on Dec. 14.

The announcement came a day after the company announced that it was making another dividend payment, this time to its shareholders, to $8 a share.

The payouts are part of a plan to keep paying its dividend to shareholders, which are typically the largest investors in the firm.

The payout will be paid out over six years, starting in 2020.

The next payout will come on Dec- 31.

The decision to keep the dividends coming comes as Wal- mosters corporate profits have plunged, and a growing number of workers have lost their jobs in recent years.

“It’s very encouraging that Walmart has been able to find a way to keep these dividend payments going while also keeping the company from having to pay a dividend,” said Michael Osterman, chief executive of retail consulting firm BDO Financial Services.

“That’s really good news for Wal- merbs investors and good news that Walmarbs shareholders are getting some measure of stability in their dividend payout.”

The company is facing a challenge in trying to recover from the massive financial crisis that gripped the U