Online gaming and financial trading giant Playtech PLC (LON:PTEC) announced today a new share buyback plan, in which Playtech may purchase up to €50 million (USD $54 million) of its own shares in the open market in the coming weeks through to December 31, 2016.
Playtech also stated that the recent rule changes announced by financial regulators the FCA in the UK and CySEC in Cyprus limiting trading leverage and banning bonuses to retail clients are not expected to have a material impact on Playtech’s Financials division. Playtech owns FX brokerage businesses operating and licensed in both Cyprus (Markets.com) and the UK (CFH Group).
Playtech shares traded down about 6% this morning after the FCA’s new directives were announced – not nearly as severe, however, as the dips seen in the shares of CMC Markets Plc (LON:CMCX), IG Group Holdings plc (LON:IGG), and Plus500 Ltd (LON:PLUS), each down in the 30% range. We’d note however that Playtech shares did drop about 10% last week, after controlling shareholder Teddy Sagi announced he was selling £329 million (USD $411 million) Playtech shares, more than one-third of his stake in the company, at a significant discount to market.
The full Playtech press release on the matter reads as follows:
6 December 2016
(“Playtech or the “Company”)
Share Buyback Programme
Playtech (LSE: PTEC) today announces a share buyback programme (the “Buyback Programme”) of up to €50 million.
At its 2016 interim results in August, Playtech reiterated that it is cognisant of the need for an efficient balance sheet with high cash balances consistently augmented by cash from operations, and at the same time increased its interim dividend as well as announcing the payment of a special dividend and introducing a progressive dividend policy.
Reflecting Playtech’s continued confidence in the growth and prospects of the business and its high cash generation, Playtech is pleased to launch the Buyback Programme. Playtech continues to trade in-line with its expectations. Playtech has always aimed to operate its Financials Division at the very highest standards of regulation and therefore confirms that last week’s publication by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (“CySEC”) and today’s proposals from the Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”) are not expected to have a material impact on Playtech’s Financials division. The Buyback Programme has no impact on Playtech’s M&A strategy, with its pipeline remaining healthy.
The purpose of the Buyback Programme is to reduce the Company’s share capital by means of purchasing its ordinary shares from time to time (“Share Repurchases”) using existing cash resources of up to €50 million, to make market purchases of up to 6,000,000 ordinary shares (the “Maximum Amount”). This is within the number of shares permitted pursuant to the general authority given to it at the Company’s 2016 Annual General Meeting.
The Company has entered into an agreement with its broker Canaccord Genuity Limited (“Canaccord Genuity”) to carry out purchases of shares under the Buyback Programme on its behalf.
The Share Repurchases will be carried out on the London Stock Exchange and will be effected within certain pre-set parameters and in accordance with both the Company’s general authority to purchase shares granted by its shareholders at the Company’s 2016 Annual General Meeting, the Market Abuse Regulation 596/2014 (“MAR”) and Chapter 12 of the Listing Rules. Share Repurchases will be undertaken until the earlier of the Maximum Amount being repurchased and 31 December 2016. Any shares repurchased will be cancelled.
The Company will make further announcements in due course following the completion of any Share Repurchases.