Risk & Compliance

Buyback Binge Aimed at Hiking Share Prices

An array of companies unveil plans to repurchase stock this year.
Stephen TaubJuly 25, 2008

As the stock market tries to battle back amid huge volatility, a number of large companies have pledged to repurchase shares in the past few days with the hope of boosting share price.

Bank of America says it plans to spend $3.75 billion to buy back up to 75 million shares of common stock during the next 12 months to 18 months. The program replaces the expiring January 2007 repurchase authorization of 200 million shares.

On Wednesday Praxair Inc. said its board of directors had authorized a new repurchase program for up to $1 billion of its common stock, reflecting the company’s strong balance sheet and free-cash-flow generation.

One day after its stock price plunged 14 percent, British-based mobile-phone giant Vodafone said it would step up and buy $2 billion of its shares.

Daimler AG chief executive Dieter Zetsche says the company will maintain its share-buyback program despite a cutback in its forecast for 2008 earnings, according to Thomson Financial.

Casket maker Hillenbrand Inc. says it will repurchase up to $100 million of its outstanding shares through a private placement. Back in April, the company split from medical-equipment company Hill-Rom.

On the other hand, Glaxo says it will delay its buyback after reporting a 4 percent profit decline for the second quarter.

Meanwhile, T. Rowe Price Group, which has repurchased more than 4 percent, or 11.2 million, of its outstanding common shares so far this year, may buy back still more, CEO James Kennedy told Reuters. “It is an efficient way to give back money to shareholders,” he reportedly said.

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