The programme is in line with the Group’s objective of targeting a net debt to EBITDA ratio of 2.0x. and our intention to return the expected after-tax proceeds upon completion of the spreads disposal to shareholders, unless more value-creating acquisition alternatives arise.
The first tranche of this buy-back programme (the “Initial Programme”) will commence on 8 May 2018 and will be for an aggregate market value equivalent to €3 billion, of which €1.5 billion will be bought back in the form of Unilever PLC ordinary shares, and €1.5 billion will be bought back in the form of Unilever N.V. ordinary shares (or depositary receipts in respect of such ordinary shares).
Any further tranches of the buy-back programme, which may be conducted after completion of the Initial Programme, will be announced in due course.
The Initial Programme will take place within the limitations of the authority granted to the Boards of each of Unilever PLC and Unilever N.V. by their general meetings, held on 2nd May and 3rd May 2018 respectively, pursuant to which the maximum number of shares to be bought back by Unilever PLC is 123,176,000 and the maximum number of shares (or depositary receipts thereof) to be bought back by Unilever N.V. is 210,906,593.
The Initial Programme, the purpose of which is to reduce the capital of Unilever PLC and Unilever N.V., respectively, will also be conducted within the parameters prescribed by the Market Abuse Regulation 596/2014, the Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2016/1052 and, in the case of Unilever PLC, Chapter 12 of the Listing Rules.
The Initial Programme will commence on 8 May 2018 and will end no later than 19 July 2018.
The Group has entered into non-discretionary instructions with Deutsche Bank AG, London Branch and UBS AG, London Branch to conduct the Initial Programme on its behalf and to make trading decisions under the Initial Programme independently of the Group.