Buyback nod fails to boost Lewis
By Ann Crotty - Oct 18th 2017, 08:22
The prospect of renewed share repurchasing failed to move the Lewis share price on Tuesday and it closed marginally weaker at R27.45. At the annual general meeting earlier in the day, 99.9% of shareholders voted to give the board authority to repurchase up to 5% of the shares in issue.
In early October, the company informed shareholders that in the four months to end-September, it had exhausted the authority, granted at the 2016 meeting, to repurchase 3% of the firm’s shares. In those four months, Lewis spent R95m repurchasing 2.9-million shares at R28.62-R35.50.
This was the first repurchasing the group had done since 2009. In 2005-09, it repurchased 11.1-million shares at an average price of R50.67 a share.
Tuesday’s meeting was one of the briefest in recent years. There were no shareholder questions and the board offered no comment on the group’s recent performance or future prospects. Outgoing chairman David Nurek said the delay in the timing of the meeting meant it was in a closed period and the board was unable to issue comment. A trading update would be released no later than October 27, he said.
Analysts are expecting the interim results to reflect continued strain as management deals with difficult trading conditions and tougher regulations.
There was evidence of concern at the meeting on a number of issues including Nurek’s election as nonexecutive director and Hilton Saven’s election as a member of the audit committee. In addition, 13% of shareholders voted against the remuneration policy and the reappointment of PwC as auditors.
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