Singapore-listed companies buy back record S$2 billion worth of shares in 2015

Listed companies in Singapore bought back S$2 billion worth of shares on the Singapore Exchange (SGX) in 2015.
Listed companies in Singapore bought back S$2 billion worth of shares on the Singapore Exchange (SGX) in 2015. PHOTO: SINGAPORE EXCHANGE

SINGAPORE - Listed companies in Singapore bought back S$2 billion worth of shares on the Singapore Exchange (SGX) in 2015, a record high since the share buyback scheme was introduced in 1999.

Last year's total share buyback value surpassed the previous high of S$1.071 billion during the global financial crisis in 2008, according to data from research firm Asia Insider Limited.

Share buybacks were S$63.1 million in December last year, according to an SGX My Gateway report on Monday (Jan 4).

In total, 38 listed companues purchased 67.7 million shares last month, with UOB, DBS, OCBC and Pacific Century Regional Developments spending the most on their stock repurchases, said SGX.

UOB spent S$12.7 million buying nearly 660,000 shares on the open market in December. This represents two-thirds of the 927,830 shares it has accumulated since it started the mandate on April 24 last year.

Two other local banks - DBS and OCBC - were also active buyers of their own shares last month. DBS spent S$8.2 million repurchasing 500,000 shares while OCBC snapped up 750,000 shares for S$6.5 million.

There are two common reasons for listed companies to buy shares back from the open market - when the companies feel that their share price has been undervalued or to buy shares that are issued to management and staff as part of share option schemes to reward good performance, said SGX.