March 17, 2020 / 8:25 AM / 24 days ago

Ray Ban maker EssilorLuxottica launches share buyback

FILE PHOTO: Ray-Ban sunglasses logo, a Luxottica brand, is seen in Milan, Italy January 23, 2017. REUTERS/ Stefano Rellandini

PARIS (Reuters) - EssilorLuxottica (ESLX.PA), the maker of Ray Ban sunglasses, on Tuesday announced a plan to buy back up to 3 million shares, adding it was confident in its long-term outlook.

The firm’s Italian Luxottica unit, which also makes eyewear for Oakley and which merged with French lens maker Essilor in 2017, is facing production stoppages like many industrial companies after Italy entered lockdown to combat the coronavirus outbreak.

It said on Sunday it was suspending production and logistics operations in Italy for up to three days while it brings in new working safety measures.

The company said on Tuesday it was launching the share buyback “reflecting the group’s confidence in its value creation and long-term prospects.”

At Monday’s closing price of 95.90 euros per share, the purchase program would be worth around 288 million euros.

The shares would be awarded to employees and corporate directors as part of profit-sharing plans and bonus schemes, EssilorLuxottica added. The stock purchase plan will run from March 17 to May 27.

EssilorLuxottica said earlier in March, before the lockdown in Italy, that its production in China was getting back to normal after the coronavirus outbreak there.

France on Tuesday is set to impose more restrictive measures on people’s movements and business activities to try to control the spread of the virus.

Reporting by Sarah White; editing by Jason Neely

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