Black­Berry ups ceil­ing on 2015-16 stock buy­backs

Firm has spent US$73.7 mil­lion

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - BUSINESS -

Black­Berry Ltd. (TSX:BB) has more than dou­bled the amount of stock it can re­pur­chase from the pub­lic mar­ket by mid-2016.

The Water­loo, Ont.-based com­pany said Fri­day that it has al­ready re­pur­chased 9.9 mil­lion com­mon shares since June 29, 2015 - about 2.1 per cent of the pub­lic float - at an av­er­age weighted price of US$7.43 per share.

It has also re­ceived ap­proval from the Toronto Stock Ex­change and Nas­daq to raise the ceil­ing on its 2015-16 share buy­back pro­gram to 27 mil­lion com­mon shares, up from 12 mil­lion shares.

The new ceil­ing rep­re­sents 5.8 per cent of the Black­Berry shares in pub­lic mar­kets.

Share buy­back pro­grams, for­mally called nor­mal course is­suer bids, give com­pa­nies the op­por­tu­nity - but not the obli­ga­tion - to re­pur­chase and can­cel shares.

Com­pa­nies of­ten de­scribe such buy­backs as a way to re­turn cash to share­hold­ers. Share buy­backs also tend to sup­port earn­ings per share be­cause prof­its are di­vided among fewer shares.

Based on the av­er­age price paid for stock re­pur­chases to Jan. 29, Black­Berry paid about US$73.7 mil­lion. At the end of the com­pany's fis­cal third quar­ter on Nov. 28, it had US$1.46 bil­lion in cash.

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