France’s Credit Agricole to launch a $680 million share buyback

PARIS (Reuters) – French bank Credit Agricole said on Monday it would launch a 560 million euros ($680 million) share buyback programme by the end of the year to offset the impact of the scrip dividend payment option on earnings per share.

It said the scrip dividend payment had resulted in the issuance of 175,330,851 new shares as 85% of its shareholders chose the option.

“Credit Agricole SA intends to execute a share buyback programme by the end of the year, for around 560 million euros”, the bank said in a statement.

Credit Agricole said in February it would pay a 0.80 euro per share dividend with a scrip option, within European Central Bank recommendations.

The lender said it could then launch a share buyback, representing up to 5% of its capital, to offset the scrip option-induced dilution for shareholders.

($1 = 0.8230 euros)

(Reporting by Matthieu Protard; Editing by Edmund Blair)