What is share buyback?

Headline : What is share buyback?

Details :

Why in news?

  • With prominent companies such as Infosys, TCS and L&T having gone for a share buyback, here is a low-down on the mechanism and the reasons for firms taking such a step.

What is a buyback?

  • A buyback is a mechanism through which a listed company buys back shares from the market.
  • A buyback can be done either through open market purchases or through the tender offer route.
  • Under the open market mechanism, the company buys back the shares from the secondary market while under tender offer, shareholders can tender their shares during the buyback offer.
  • Historically, most companies had preferred the open market route.

Why does a firm go in for a buyback?

  • Buybacks are typically done when a company has a significant cash reserve and feels that the shares are not fairly valued at the current market price.
  • Since the shares that are bought back are extinguishedthe stake of the remaining shareholders rise.
  • Promoters also use this mechanism to tighten their grip on the firm.

What are the benefits?

  • Since the bought back shares are extinguished, the earnings per share (EPS) rise by default.
  • Also, since a buyback is usually done at a price higher than the then prevailing market price, shareholders get an attractive exit option, especially when the shares are thinly traded.
  • It is also more tax-efficient than dividends as a way to reward shareholders.

How can a company execute a buyback?

  • A company can use a maximum of 25% of the aggregate of its free reserves and paid-up capital for a buyback. A special resolution needs to be passed at a general meeting.
  • However, if the company plans to use less than 10% of its reserves then only a board resolution is required.

Can a firm opt for regular buybacks to boost EPS?

  • A company cannot do a second buyback offer within one year from the date of the closure of the last buyback.
  • Also, there are time-bound limitations on further share issuances like preferential allotment or bonus issue post a buyback.
  • These checks have been put in place so that companies do not misuse the buyback mechanism.

Do retail investors get a reservation in buy back?

  • The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has recently revised the buy back regulations that stipulate 15% reservation for retail shareholders in a buy back offer.
  • This gives retail investors a fair share in the offer, which otherwise could see large institutional investors tendering their shares leaving little or no room for small investors.
Section : Economics