Nestle completes first stage of massive share buyback

by Josh Sosland
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VEVEY, SWITZERLAND — Nestle S.A. has completed a share repurchase totaling 15 billion Swiss francs ($13.9 billion) launched in August 2007 as part of a larger 25 billion Swiss franc ($23.2 billion) share repurchase program.

Nestle said it has repurchased 314,060,000 shares, adjusted for a 10-for-1 stock dividend paid in 2008. The adjusted purchase price of the shares was 47.76 Swiss francs ($44.38 per share).

An adjusted total of 100,725,000 shares were canceled in June 2008, and 180 million were canceled June 30, 2009. The cancelations followed resolutions on capital reductions made after the company’s annual shareholders meeting each year.

"The board of directors intends to propose to future general meetings to reduce the share capital by cancellation of the remaining shares repurchased," Nestle said.

The company said it plans to begin repurchasing the remaining 10 million Swiss francs of the 25 million Swiss franc program after publishing half-year financial results Aug. 12 and expects to finish the repurchase in 2010.

Nestle on July 29 said the company had 3,650,000,000 shares outstanding with a market capitalization of 158.8 billion Swiss francs ($147.5 billion). The largest market capitalization for a U.S. food processing company is Kraft Foods Inc. at $42 billion. Coca-Cola Co. has a market capitalization of $117 billion and PepsiCo, Inc. has a market value of $87.2 billion.

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