Virgin Media Inc. (“Virgin Media”) (NASDAQ:VMED) (LSE:VMED) today announced the next phase of its Capital Return programme.
Virgin Media’s results over recent years have demonstrated our ability to grow revenue, control costs, refinance debt and generate cash. Since beginning our share repurchase programme in July 2010, we have repurchased 73 million shares of common stock for £1.127bn, representing around 22% of our share count at that time.
We have also made significant progress in refinancing high coupon debt, having issued £2.2bn of low coupon bonds and deleveraging the business since we set our circa 3.0x leverage target two-and-a-half years ago. As a result, we are announcing today that going forward we plan to manage the business in a leverage range of 3.0x to 3.25x Net Debt to OCF 1 and we expect to progressively achieve this range over the coming quarters.
With the near completion of our existing authorised capital returns programme, we are also announcing that our Board of Directors has authorised a new share buyback programme of at least £1.122bn to be completed before the end of 2014. This represents approximately 19% of our current market capitalisation and includes the £122m remaining under our pre-existing Board authority.Our Board has also authorised the use of up to £200m in transactions related to our debt and convertible debt, which may be effected through open market, privately negotiated, and/or derivative transactions until the end of 2014. Our present intention is to maintain our existing dividend of 4 cents per share per quarter in 2013. Today’s announcement further underscores our commitment to both financial discipline and to offering attractive returns to investors. Together with our leverage range, this will allow for meaningful flexibility to reinvest in our business, maintain our strong credit quality, complete our likely refinancing activity and maximise the total returns to our stockholders.