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Share buybacks on SGX rise to 30-month high in March

SHARE buybacks for Singapore-listed counters rose to a 30-month high in March, with 26 stocks repurchasing some 86 million shares at S$222 million.

The total share buyback consideration in March was 65 per cent higher compared to S$134 million for February 2018 and the highest reported for such transactions since September 2015, according to market updates published by the Singapore Exchange (SGX).

Transactions on shares in six STI (Straits Times Index) constituents - CapitaLand, OCBC, UOB, SATS, Sembcorp Industries and SGX - answered for S$185 million of the S$222 million worth of share buyback trades reported for March.

CapitaLand topped the list with the repurchase of 26.3 million shares for S$95 million in March, up from some S$44 million the property group forked out for share buybacks in February. It commenced its share buyback mandate one week after Feb 13, following the announcement of a 30.3 per cent year-on-year increase in its profit after tax and minority interests to S$1.55 billion.

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This mandate was approved at CapitaLand's annual general meeting on Apr 24, 2017. As at Apr 3, the property group has repurchased 1.002 per cent of its shares, up from 0.905 per cent as at the end of March.

In share buybacks transactions, share issuers repurchase some of their publicly floated outstanding shares and convert them into treasury shares. Listed companies undertake share buybacks for the purpose of, among others, aligning stock valuations with balance sheet objectives.