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Coty Announced Intention to Gradually Recommence Shareholder Returns Alongside Expected Capital Structure Improvement

Coty Inc. (NYSE: COTY) today announced its intention to gradually return its Equity distributions as deleveraging continues, while also entering into agreements with several banks to start hedging a planned $200 million share buyback program in calendar 20...

Benzinga · 06/10/2022 05:15
Coty Inc. (NYSE:COTY) today announced its intention to gradually return its Equity distributions as deleveraging continues, while also entering into agreements with several banks to start hedging a planned $200 million share buyback program in calendar 2024. Having made substantial progress in lowering its leverage from ~7x exiting FY21 to 4.7x exiting 3Q FY22, or approximately 3.6x when factoring in the value of its retained 26% stake in Wella, Coty anticipates continued strong free cash flow generation and steady deleveraging progress in the coming years. As Coty progresses on its trajectory to reach its targeted leverage of approximately 2x by calendar 2025, this will open opportunities for Coty to gradually recommence shareholder distributions, within the scope of the Company's financial policy. Coty has therefore entered into total return swaps in respect of its Class A Common Stock with several banks to hedge its potential exposure at around prevailing stock price trading levels over the applicable hedging periods for a planned $200 million share buyback program. Any total return swap settled in shares would be covered by the Company's existing share repurchase authorization. Laurent Mercier, Coty's Chief Financial Officer, stated, "Our strategy for unlocking value expansion in Coty has remained consistent, anchored on three key objectives: accelerating our sales and profit growth, deleveraging our balance sheet, and simplifying our capital structure. The last 2 years of strengthened operational performance and the de-risking of the capital structure, including both deleveraging and eliminating re-financing risk by extending the debt maturity profile, allow us to look conservatively towards the future and plan for shareholder distributions in calendar 2024. Today's announcement underscores the progress we have made across each of these objectives, and our conviction in the levers at our disposal to deliver strong EBITDA and cash flow in the coming years in a variety of economic scenarios. As we continue to strengthen our balance sheet, while paving the way for shareholder value creation, it is clear that Coty is becoming a beauty powerhouse."