Woolworths has completed the sale of its petrol business to EG Group and will return the proceeds via a buyback.
The buyback will be off market and return $1.7 billion to shareholders, Woolworths says. The offer period will open on April 16.
Woolworths Group Chair Gordon Cairns says the group remains focused on maximising shareholder value.
“We’ve considered a number of capital return options,” he said. “And we believe an off-market buyback is the best option for the company and shareholders, and will result in a significant franking credit release.
“The buyback complements dividends of $1.4 billion already paid to shareholders this financial year through the F18 final and special dividends, and the F19 interim dividend. Following the buyback, the Woolworths Group balance sheet will remain strong and allow sufficient flexibility for future growth.”
The buyback will be open to eligible shareholders in Australia and New Zealand. There are further details in a separate ASX announcement.
Woolworths predicts that the sale of its petrol business will bring in a $1.1 billion gain after tax. The company will record the gain as a significant item in the F19 results, it says.