* Program to start upon completion of current $10 bln program in early 2012
* Sees completing new program in 2-3 years
* Expects to invest about $1.5 bln or more in buybacks in 2012 (Follows alerts)
Jan 12 (Reuters) - Target Corp said its board authorized the buy back of up to $5 billion of its shares over the next 2-3 years, following the completion of its current program in early 2012.
The company announced its existing $10 billion program in November 2007 and Target said it has since repurchased more than 185 million shares at an average price of $51.53 a share through the third quarter of 2011.
Target said it expects to invest $1.5 billion or more in share repurchases in 2012.
The company also expects to raise its annual dividend to $3.00 a share or more by 2017, if it meets its goal to grow annual earnings to $8.00 a share or more by that time.
Target shares closed at $49.03 on Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Ranjita Ganesan; Editing by Viraj Nair)