AmBev is to embark on a share buyback programme. The Brazilian brewer announced yesterday that its board of directors approved the programme, limited to R$500m (US$159m), on Monday.

The program is valid for 365 days. Over that period, AmBev may repurchase up to 1,838,823,087 preferred shares, representing 8.94% of the preferred shares free float.

Through the frequent issuance of new share buyback programmes, AmBev keeps its policy of continuously enhancing shareholder value by combining an efficient use of strong cash flow generation with a wise management of its capital structure, as evidenced by its investment grade rating in local currency, the company said. After investing in core activities that increase profits to shareholders, the Company also remains committed in returning cash to shareholders through share buybacks and dividends.

A programme to acquire call options and issue put options was also approved, respecting the limits set for the overall programme.

The volume of options, held or issued, multiplied by their respective strike prices plus the aggregate amount of cash share repurchases is limited to R$500m.

The amount of shares to be kept in treasury may not surpass the equivalent of 10% of the float of each share class.

The company also said that, regarding the Buyback Programme issued on 22 March, it has sold 50,000,000 put options of the series expiring on 06.21.05 at a strike price of R$ 628.00.