Medtronic says tax advantages stemming from the merger with Ireland-based Covidien have made billions of dollars available for stock buybacks and other uses.
The medical device company said it now has access to $9.3 billion that had been held by subsidiaries operating outside the U.S. Medtronic plans to use $5 billion of that amount to buy its own stock before the end of its 2018 fiscal year.
Stock buybacks like this typically mean higher share prices for investors. Medtronic also has plans to pay down debt.
When the Covidien deal closed early last year, it made Medtronic an Irish company for tax purposes, positioning it to avoid a big tax hit on some foreign profits brought into the U.S.
With the merger, Medtronic promised to invest $10 billion in the U.S. over 10 years and add 1,000 jobs in Minnesota, where Medtronic already has about 8,000 employees.
A Medtronic spokesman said the company has hired about 350 people in Minnesota and spent more than $1 billion on companies it acquired last year.