Brierley questions F&N share buyback

Brierley Investments (BIL) chief executive Greg Terry hit out on 26 September at Fraser & Neave“s (F&N) recent share buyback programme, questioning the “higher“ prices at which it paid for the shar…

Brierley Investments (BIL) chief executive Greg Terry hit out on 26 September at Fraser & Neave“s (F&N) recent share buyback programme, questioning the “higher“ prices at which it paid for the shares. Terry said at the company“s results briefing that he was “rather surprised” to find out that companies in Singapore were allowed to repurchase “a large volume in their own stock on a given day and driving the share price”. Terry added that under other jurisdictions, one can only take a small percentage of the daily trade when undertaking a share repurchase, and percentage can only be taken within price ranges that reflect recent trading. In August, F&N became a talking point when it said it would liquidate low-yielding assets to fund a buyback of up to 14.9 million shares. That move was largely viewed as defensive, especially since major shareholder Brierley had been steadily raising its stake to over 10%. In a press statement accompanying its results announcement, Brierley said it would “continue to acquire shares” and “monitor developments” in the diversified group. However, Terry declined to comment on the company“s strategic plans with regard to F&N.