RFM allots P300M more to buy back shares

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RFM Corp. is spending an additional P300 million to buy back more shares in the open market, after exhausting more than 70% of the allocated budget for the share buyback program.

In a disclosure to the stock exchange on Wednesday, the Concepcion-led firm said its board of directors has approved the additional appropriation to acquire more shares.

RFM launched the share buy-back program worth P300 million last Feb. 24, 2016, citing that the generally bearish market made the company’s share price of P3.80 at the time a good investment. The company then added another P300 million to the buyback program on Nov. 22 of the same year.

As of Jan. 30, the food manufacturer has managed to buy 102.05 million shares from the open market since 2016, valued at P437.81 million.

“The corporation intents to implement the share buy-back program as buying opportunity presents itself and up to the time when the total appropriated amount for the share buy-back program is exhausted,” the company said. 

At the same time, the company has declared cash dividends of 8.571 centavos for each share as of record date Feb. 15. This will be the first of two tranches under RFM’s 50% annual cash dividend policy based on its recurring net income. The dividends will be paid out on March 14.

RFM sells ice cream under the Selecta, Cornetto, and Magnum brands under a joint venture partnership with Unilever Philippines Ltd. The company also has under its portfolio the Royal and Fiesta pasta brands, as well as Selecta Milk and Sunkist juices.

The company generated P718 million in attributable profit in the first nine months of 2017, 5% higher against the P681 million it posted in the same period in 2016. Revenues were almost unchanged from year-ago levels at P3.74 billion.

For full-year 2017, the company expects earnings to breach the P1-billion mark, which it achieved for the first time in 2016 where it booked P1.002 billion in attributable profit.

Shares in RFM were up 0.21% or a centavo to close at P4.82 apiece at the Philippine Stock Exchange on Wednesday. — Arra B. Francia