What is stock buyback?
A stock buyback occurs when a public company uses cash to buy shares of its stock on the open market. The company may do this to return money to shareholders without having to fund operations and other investments.
In a stock buyback, the company buys shares of stock in the secondary market from any and all investors who wish to sell. Shareholders have no obligation to sell their stock back to the company, and the stock buyback doesn’t target a specific group of holders — it’s open to anyone.
Public companies that decide to buy back stock usually announce that the board of directors has passed a “repurchase authorization,” detailing how much money will be allocated to buy back shares — or alternatively. the number of shares in or outstanding thereof. Percentage of outstanding shares. The objective is to buy back.
How does buyback work
Buyback is done in two ways:
- Shareholders may be offered a tender offer, where they have the option to submit or tender all or some of their shares within a given time frame at a premium to the current market price. This premium compensates investors for holding their shares rather than tendering them.
- Companies buy back shares on the open market for a long period of time and may also have a stock repurchase program that outlines the purchase of shares at specific times or at regular intervals.
The company can finance its buybacks by borrowing, with cash on hand, or by cash flows from its operations.
The extended share buyback is an addition to the company’s existing share repurchase plan. Extended share buybacks accelerate the company’s share repurchase plans and cause a sharp contraction in its share float. The market impact of an extended share buyback depends on its intensity. Large, extended buybacks are likely to drive up share prices.23
The buyback ratio takes into account buyback dollars spent in the previous year, divided by its market capitalization at the beginning of the buyback period. The buyback ratio enables comparison of the potential impact of buybacks across different companies. It is also a good indicator of a company’s ability to return value to its shareholders because regular buyback companies have historically outperformed the broader market.
5 Reasons Why a Company Might Consider a Share Buyback
In the last 2 years we have seen many companies, especially companies in the technology sector, have announced share buybacks. Before getting into the noise of buybacks in India, let us understand how the global scenario works on buybacks. Globally, there are two ways in which a company can buy back its shares. First, it is possible to buy shares and hold them in a company’s balance sheet as Treasury stock. The company uses it for treasury operations. Second, you can buy back the stock and sell the stock, thus reducing the remaining stock to that extent. In India, the first method is not allowed and shares can be bought back only for extinguishment.
So, why does the company buy back shares? What are the reasons for share buyback? There is a need to understand the benefits for the shareholders and the company in question. The main question is about share buyback benefits for shareholders.
1. Lots of cash but few projects to invest
This is one of the primary considerations for buying back shares of companies. In general, Indian IT companies like Infosys, TCS, Wipro and HCL Tech were sitting on billions of dollars in cash. Now, the bank has value in cash and it is better returned to the shareholders. Even though a company like Reliance Industries has billions of dollars in cash, it also has huge investments in the telecom sector. Most of the IT companies are working on a mature business model and there is not much to invest in new projects. Too much cash in the books and too few investment opportunities are the main reasons for share buybacks.
2. Buybacks are a more tax-effective means of rewarding shareholders
This benefit was announced in India after the Union Budget 2016 when the government paid an annual dividend of Rs. 10% tax declared in the hands of shareholders if exceeds 10 lakhs. Now, dividends paid by companies are taxed at around 3 levels. Firstly, dividends are an after-tax allocation, and then when a company pays dividends there is a 15% Dividend Distribution Tax (DDT) and finally a 10% tax on shareholders. The 10% tax actually affects the promoters and big shareholders the most. In comparison, the buyback is attractive in terms of tax, even considering the 10% tax levied on LTCG in the 2018 Budget.
3. In-principle buybacks improve valuations of companies
When a company buys shares, it reduces the number of shares outstanding and the capital base. To that extent, it improves the company’s EPS and ROE. When EPS rises, so should the share price, assuming the P/E remains constant. However, in practice this is not usually the case. When a company buys shares, it is viewed as a business with very limited future investment and growth opportunities. As such, such companies quote low P/E ratios because P/E is usually driven by growth. Therefore, the EPS neutralizes the impact on valuation when the P/E goes up.
4. Company Returns Cash to Shareholders
In India, shareholder activism by large shareholders and institutions is still not very prevalent, but it is slowly developing. For example, in the US, companies such as Apple were forced by influential shareholders to distribute more cash to shareholders through buybacks. In the past we have seen many companies diversify into unrelated sectors because they were short of funds. Instead, return the cash to shareholders and let them decide what to do with the excess money. This type of shareholder activism is only beginning to appear in India.
5. It can help promoters to consolidate their stake in the company
There are times when promoters are concerned about their stake in a company going below a certain level. Buyback is an offer and it is up to the shareholders to accept it or not. If the promoters accept the buyback, they retain their stake and pay in cash. Alternatively, if they forfeit the buyback, they are able to increase their stake in the company. This is important when the company is trying to get other companies to take them.
How does a stock buyback affect the value of a company?
Because stock buybacks remove cash from a company’s balance sheet and potentially reduce the number of shares outstanding, they can have far-reaching effects on key metrics that investors use to value a public company.
It is important to understand that once a company repurchases its shares, it is either canceled – this permanently reduces the number of outstanding shares – or is held by the company as Treasury shares. is done. These are not treated as outstanding shares, which implies several important measures of a company’s financial fundamentals.
A key metric such as earnings per share (EPS) is calculated by dividing a company’s net profit by the number of shares remaining. Subtract the number of shares remaining and you’ve given the company a higher EPS, which may indicate that the company is underperforming.
The same goes for the price-to-earnings ratio (P/E ratio), which helps investors understand the relative valuation of a company’s stock by comparing it to its EPS.
Disadvantages of stock buybacks
There are many critics of stock buybacks who call it a weak way for companies to create value for their shareholders. There are some drawbacks to stock buybacks:
- Bad use of cash. Depending on a number of factors, a stock buyback may privilege short-term gains in the share price, when other more profitable uses of cash are available. Investing in research and development or simply hoarding cash for a rainy day may not help the stock price, but it can offer a better value in the long run.
- Debt-fueled share buyback. In the years leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic, up to half of all buybacks were financed by loans. Low interest rates encouraged companies to borrow money to spend on share buybacks so that the share price could benefit in the short term. Many critics suggest that this was a particularly short-sighted strategy.
- Cash-rich companies tend to have higher stock prices. Some companies that have initiated stock buybacks have accumulated cash after a period of good performance. In this case, companies tend to have relatively high stock valuations, which means they may generate less value for shareholders than other uses of cash.
- Officers are used to hide stock-based returns. Many public companies pay managers in the form of stock, which slack off other shareholders. Executives can use buybacks to illustrate how this form of return affects a company’s stock count.