As one of the world’s largest drugmakers, Pfizer generates lots of cash it can share with investors.

A vaccine and an antiviral treatment for COVID-19 made Pfizer (PFE 0.66%) a household name in recent years, but this isn’t all the company sells. There are dozens of innovative medicines in its product lineup that benefit from patent-protected market exclusivity.

With patents on drugs that many patients can’t live without, Pfizer had no trouble distributing about $9.25 billion to its shareholders last year in the form of a dividend it had set at $0.41 per share.

Pfizer will pay more in dividends this year

Pfizer announced it would raise its dividend payout by a penny to $0.42 per share last December. The company’s existing share repurchase authorization stood at $3.3 billion on May 1, but the company doesn’t expect to repurchase any shares this year.

With a payout that rose slightly and a share count that isn’t shrinking, investors can expect Pfizer to distribute significantly more this year. With about 5.67 billion shares outstanding, Pfizer will pay roughly $9.52 billion in dividends this year.

More raises ahead

Investors don’t need the company to raise its payout by much to realize satisfying gains. The stock offers a 5.8% yield at recent prices.

A handful of famous billionaire investors anticipating more dividend raises bought millions of Pfizer shares during the first three months of 2024.

It’s easy to see why billionaires are piling into Pfizer. Total sales have declined, but if we ignore COVID-19 products and currency exchange, first-quarter revenue rose 11% year over year. Now that the worst COVID-19 losses are in the rearview, Pfizer’s bottom line could soar over the next several years. Adding some shares to a diversified portfolio now looks like a smart move.

Cory Renauer has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Pfizer. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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