Intel suspends stock buyback in face of COVID-19 pandemic

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Intel announces it is suspending its stock repurchases due to the coronavirus outbreak. (Intel)

In a Tuesday filing, Intel said it has suspended its planned stock repurchase in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The chipmaker also cautioned that the coronavirus outbreak could have a material impact on its business going forward.

"To date, Intel has kept its factories operational while safeguarding the health and safety of employees and continues to have a strong balance sheet. Intel’s management believes the suspension, while conservative, is prudent given uncertainty regarding the length and severity of the pandemic," Intel said in its filing. "The suspension of stock repurchases will not impact dividend payments to stockholders and the company has the ability to reinstate repurchases as circumstances warrant."

In October, Intel announced a plan to repurchase $20 billion in shares over the next 15 to 18 months. Intel has repurchased a total of approximately $7.6 billion in shares in the fourth quarter of 2019 and first quarter of 2020, prior to the suspension.

Intel said in its filing that the spread of COVID-19 has caused it to modify its business practices, including employee travel, employee work locations and the cancellation of conferences.

It also said it has significant manufacturing operations in the U.S., Ireland, Israel, China, Malaysia, and Vietnam, and that it can't predict the impact of COVID-19 on its operations and delivery to its customers due to quarantines, port and border closures and reduced availability of air transport.

RELATED: AT&T decides now’s not a good time for share buybacks

Last week AT&T announced it was canceling its accelerated share repurchase agreement with Morgan Stanley to repurchase $4 billion worth of shares during the second quarter.