By Myrna M. Velasco
Lopez-owned First Gen Corporation has extended for two years its buyback program for ₱10 billion worth of issued preferred shares.
The same length of buyback extension has similarly been enforced for its common shares, as approved by the company’s board of directors on April 15 this year.
“The buyback programs were approved on June 15, 2018 and are due to expire on June 14, 2020. They are now extended to June 14, 2020,” the Lopez firm has stipulated in its disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange.
It emphasized that the common shares buyback covers up to 300 million shares; while the preferred shares would be worth P10 billion under its Series G preferred shares.
The company previously stated that the shares buyback pro¬gram had been part of the de-leveraging strategy that it has been instituting in recent years.
As specified early on “the maximum amount of shares and buyback period will be subject to revision by the company’s board of directors from time to time as circumstances warrant.”
Manifestly, the major factor that has been impacting on businesses at this point– including that of the stock and capital markets – is the long drawn-out spread of the coronavirus infections, not just in the Philippines but globally.
On the shares buyback, First Gen previously noted “the program will not involve active and widespread solicitation from shareholders in general – and not adversely affect the company’s prospective and existing development projects.”
The near-term major project taking off from the company’s blueprint is its proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) import facility – which will start with floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) then to an onshore terminal later on.
As further stipulated, the buyback program shall be “executed in open market through the trading facilities of the PSE.”
Primarily on the common shares, the company noted that it will “undertake a buyback transaction only if and to the extent that the price per share is deemed undervalued or highly volatile, or in any other instance, where the company believes that the buyback will result in enhancing shareholder value.”