India’s IT bellwether Infosys has announced November 1, 2017 as the Record Date for its proposed share buyback programme. On August 19, Infosys had announced that it will buyback 11.3 crore shares or 4.92 percent of equity capital at Rs 1,150 apiece, spending Rs 13,000 crores. At such a price, the buyback provides a good opportunity for investors and offers nearly 25% upside from the current prices.
In a research note, HDFC Securities says that it’s a good time to buy Infosys shares, as investors purchasing the stock upto and on 30th October shall be eligible to participate in the offer. As per SEBI regulations, 15% of the offer size, ie Rs 1950 crore in case of Infosys will be reserved for small shareholders holding shares upto a value of Rs 2 lakhs as on the record date. HDFC Securities observed that most small shareholders do not take part in such share buybacks, according to recent trends, and thus the acceptance ratio may be high in case of Infosys share buyback.
Infosys larger rival, TCS had also announced a buyback in February this year, in which only 21.4% (vs the theoretical ratio of 233.1%) of the outstanding shares held by shareholders holding less than 100 shares as per FY16 Annual Report were offered in the tender offer resulting in 100% acceptance ratio (vs theoretical acceptance ratio of 42.9% in case every eligible small shareholder tendered their shares). “Hence it is very likely that acceptance ratio would be high (>59%); if not 100% even in Infosys,” said HDFC Securities in its report.
Speaking to FE Online, Ashish Chopra from Motilal Oswal had told in August, “The buyback provides a very good opportunity. The recent correction has made the buyback attractive. The more the price corrects, more alluring the buyback will be.”
However, there may be risks. “Post Mar 2017, if a lot of new shareholders have been added (holding less than 200 shares) then the acceptance ratio could be less than stated above. Similarly if a lot of new investors buy at current price (from now till the record date) with the objective of tendering the shares in buyback then the acceptance ratio is likely to drop,” noted HDFC Securities. In case of a lower acceptance ratio, investors run the risk that the shares remain unaccepted in the buyback, and may have to sell the shares at an unattractive price in the open market.
“If the share price of Infosys rises by the time of record date, it could result in lower % return (if the new buyer postpones the buying) or in a shareholder becoming ineligible to tender the shares if the value of his holding exceeds Rs.2 lakhs as on the record date. Hence it is advisable to buy say Rs.1.75-1.80 lakhs worth shares now,” said HDFC Securities.