IBM (NYSE: IBM) has increased its share repurchase fund by 75 percent to $11.7 billion and said it plans to ask the board to authorize more in April.

The company may buy shares in the open market or in private transactions, according to a statement Tuesday.

The company spent more than $3 billion on share repurchases in each of the first two quarters of this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

IBM also said it would pay a cash dividend of 85 cents per common share. It is payable on Dec. 10 to stockholders of record as of Nov. 9.

IBM says it has paid dividends every quarter since 1916.

“Our strategy to deliver high value solutions drives profit, earnings per share and cash growth,” IBM Chief Executive Officer Ginni Rometty said in the statement. “We have achieved outstanding shareholder returns over the last decade and we are positioned well for the future.”

IBM shares rose 0.9 percent to $193.27 on Oct. 26, the most recent trading day. The stock market has been closed the past two days because of Hurricane Sandy. The shares have climbed 5.1 percent this year.

Rometty is using record income this year from the company’s shift to more profitable software and services to reward shareholders whose stock has been outpaced by the broader market. While the Standard & Poor’s 500 index has increased at more than double the rate of IBM shares this year, the company’s total return including dividends and buybacks is 14 percent, compared with 16 percent for the S&P 500.

IBM is projected to record net income of $17 billion this year, up 7 percent from 2011, according to the average of analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

The total buyback authorization is equivalent to 5 percent of the Armonk, N.Y., company’s outstanding shares.

Buying back shares increases the value of shareholders’ existing stakes and can help support a company’s per-share earnings.

IBM employs some 10,000 people across North Carolina.

[IBM ARCHIVE: Check out 10 years of IBM stories as reported in WRAL Tech Wire.]

(Bloomberg news and The AP contributed to this report.)