LONDON: Royal Dutch Shell has commenced trading in the next tranche of its share buyback programme previously announced on July 26, 2018 with an intention to buy back at least $25 billion of its shares, a notice issued to London Stock Exchange (LSE) noted.
In the next tranche, the company has entered into an irrevocable, non-discretionary arrangement with a broker to enable the purchase of A ordinary shares and/or B ordinary shares for a period up to and including January 27, 2020.
The aggregate maximum consideration for the purchase of A ordinary shares and/or B ordinary shares under the next tranche is $2.75 billion. The company’s intention remains to buy back at least $25 billion of its shares subject to further progress with debt reduction and oil price conditions. However, the prevailing weak macroeconomic conditions and challenging outlook inevitably creates uncertainty about the completion of the share buyback programme by the end of 2020.
On October 17, 2019 the company completed the previous tranche of its share buyback programme. In aggregate between July 26, 2018 and October 17, 2019, the company repurchased 390,525,007 ordinary shares for an aggregate consideration of $12 billion.
The maximum number of ordinary shares which may be purchased by the company under the next tranche of its share buyback programme is 718,336,613. The shares bought back under the next tranche will be the A ordinary shares traded in the EUR denomination and whichever of the A ordinary shares and/or B ordinary shares traded in the GBP denomination is economically the least expensive on a given trading day.
The broker will make its trading decisions in relation to the company’s securities independently of the company. The next tranche will be carried out on the London Stock Exchange and/or on BATS and/or on Chi-X and will be effected within certain pre-set parameters. It will be conducted in accordance with the company’s general authority to repurchase shares granted by its shareholders at the company’s Annual General Meeting held on May 21, 20191, and in line with Chapter 12 of the Listing Rules, Article 5 of the Market Abuse Regulation 596/2014/EU dealing with buyback programmes and the Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2016/1052.
The purpose of the next tranche is to reduce the issued share capital of the company to offset the number of shares issued under the Scrip Dividend Programme and, in combination with the other tranches of the share buyback programme, to significantly reduce the equity issued in connection with the company’s combination with BG Group. All shares repurchased as part of the next tranche will be cancelled.