(Adds CEO comments, background on industry mergers)
NEW YORK, June 21 (Reuters) - Cigna Corp Chief Executive David Cordani told investors on Wednesday that the company has $7 billion to $14 billion in capital that it could use in 2017 for mergers and acquisitions in several areas, including Medicare Advantage for older people.
Cordani, speaking during the company's first meeting with investors since its deal to be bought by Anthem Inc officially broke off last month, said the company would also do at least $2 billion in share buybacks this year and set a target of $16 in earnings per share for 2021.
He said M&A areas that the No. 5 health insurer is considering also include growing internationally and building out its pharmacy and physician-related businesses, its retail capabilities, and its government risk-based insurance programs.
Cigna has a pharmacy management business that it is looking to expand both internally and through acquisitions, Cordani said.
When an investor asked if the company was as interested now in building its Medicare Advantage business as it was two years ago, before the deal to be bought by Anthem was announced, Cordani confirmed that was the case.
Several Wall Street analysts have recently written research notes about the merits of Cigna buying Humana Inc, a deal that they said had been under consideration before the Anthem deal was made. (Reporting by Caroline Humer; Editing by Nick Zieminski)