Oct 16, 2017

Tesco to buy back up to £700m of debt

Tesco is looking to pay down as much as £700m of its debt as the retailer tries to strengthen its balance sheet and regain its investment grade status. "The offers are being made in the context of Tesco's continuing efforts to strengthen the balance sheet and are aimed at efficiently using surplus liquidity to reduce gross debt," its statement said. Tesco had its bonds downgraded to junk by Moody's in January 2015, when its net debt stood closer to £8.5bn. Since then its net debt pile has more than halved - shrinking by one quarter in the 12 months to August - as the supermarket chain has undergone a turnround under chief executive Dave Lewis. Earlier this month, Tesco reinstated its dividend for the first time in three years , delivered half-year pre-tax profits up almost half a billion pounds from a year earlier, and has cut net debt to £3.3bn. "By maintaining a disciplined approach to capital and further reducing debt we can continue to strengthen the balance sheet, return to investment grade credit metrics and generate an increasing level of free cash flow," the company said in the half-year results statement. The prices of all the series targeted by the tender offer were up from yesterday's close shortly before publication time.

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