Switzerland's largest finance group, UBS, has started a new share buy back programme, aimed at repurchasing and cancelling up to 18 million shares, or about four per cent of the group's share capital.
Under the programme, which kicked off on Monday, UBS is repurchasing the shares via a second trading line on the SWX Swiss Exchange. The trading line is available from March 5, 2001 to March 5, 2002, and will be exclusively for UBS's buy back.
The programme aims to return excess capital to shareholders. Shareholders will also be asked at the end of the one-year buy back period to approve the cancellation of the shares.
Share buy backs are an effective way of increasing a company's share value through reducing the amount of paper on the market. It also allows companies to reward shareholders by increasing the value of their stake.
This second line programme supersedes the share buy back launched after UBS acquired New York investment bank, PaineWebber, last year. A total of 29,655,023 shares were repurchased between November 6, 2000 and March 2, 2001 at an average price of SFr266 per share.
These shares were not earmarked for cancellation, being used primarily to replace shares borrowed for delivery in the PaineWebber acquisition.
swissinfo with agencies