13 Oct 2009 18:43

Wimm-Bill-Dann buys back 4% of shares

MOSCOW. Oct 13 (Interfax) - Wimm-Bill-Dann Foods plans to continue a buyback on the stock exchange that has so far netted the company about 4% of shares.

The amount of shares the company purchases will depend on the price, board chairman David Yakobashvili told journalists.

"How much depends on what the price is. We are not abandoning that idea. We are working with it," he said.

Asked if there were a limit on the amount of shares the company would buy, Yakobashvili said: "There is no limit. The company has sufficient reserves. We have enough money on account. So we are looking first of all to acquire some new enterprises to extensive and intensive development and we might buy more shares in future to support prices. You see, that was a fairly positive step."

Asked whether WBDF plans any borrowing in the near future, Yakobashvili said: "Not for now. On the contrary, we haven't been raising loans. Our debt is currently half of EBITDA."

Yakobashvili previously told Interfax that the company planned to continue buying back shares in order to simplify the process of approving deals at shareholders' meetings. "There are major assets and deciding them would be easier. Together with Danone and a few other major shareholders, we could get a majority of votes," he said.

French Danone owns about 18.4% of shares in WBDF. Founders Gavril Yushvaev, Mikhail Dubinin, Alexander Orlov, Sergei Plastinin and Yakobashvili owned 42.9% of shares as of June 16. About 40% of shares are in circulation in the form of ADR and GDR.