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Novartis initiates new trading line for share buybacks

Published 03/13/2023, 02:19 AM
Updated 03/13/2023, 10:01 AM
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The logo of Swiss drugmaker Novartis is pictured at the French company's headquarters in Rueil-Malmaison near Paris, France, April 22, 2020. REUTERS/Charles Platiau/

By Ludwig Burger

(Reuters) -Novartis said on Monday it received regulatory clearance to open a separate trading line for potentially up to 16.5 billion Swiss francs ($18.1 billion) in stock repurchases even as its ongoing $15 billion buyback programme is close to completion.

At last week's annual shareholder meeting, the company won investor authorization for up to 10 billion francs in buybacks, which comes on top of 6.5 billion francs in prior authorizations.

A company spokesperson told Reuters on Monday that the "majority" of its ongoing $15 billion buyback programme was already completed, adding that any repurchases would be decided by the board of directors.

She declined to comment on specific amounts.

Novartis laid out plans for the $15 billion programme in late 2021, after receiving $20.7 billion for the sale of its nearly one-third voting stake in Roche back to its cross-town rival.

The spokesperson said the remainder of that repurchase programme would be carried out while allowing for "bolt-on M&A, whilst providing a strong, growing dividend and reinvesting in the business".

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The logo of Swiss drugmaker Novartis is pictured at the French company's headquarters in Rueil-Malmaison near Paris, France, April 22, 2020. REUTERS/Charles Platiau/

Novartis's CEO Vas Narasimhan said in January that the group was looking at the "full range of M&A opportunities", but the focus was on assets worth no more than $5 billion.

($1 = 0.9118 Swiss francs)

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