Enel looks to share buyback as means of boosting investment

Francesco Starace’s Enel is proposing the first share buy-back in the company’s history as it looks to reward investors for the improved performance of the company in recent years.

The buyback amounting to $2.1bn is aimed at alleviating concerns about the impact of the Italian government falling in a December referendum, as well as boost coffers for power plant digitisation and modernisation strategies.

Enel said its dividend pay outs would rise to 65 per cent of net ordinary income in 2017, from 60 per cent in the previous plan, and 70 per cent of net ordinary income in 2018, from 65 per cent.

CEO Starace said Enel would spend €4.7bn over the next three years on digitalisation, not just of the company’s electricity grid through the installation of smart meters, but also by retro-fitting existing power plants with new technology. “All our machinery, all our plants, all our structures, if digitalised, will become more efficient, will produce more and will work better,” Mr Starace said.

On December 4, Italians will go to the polls in a referendum on the flagship constitutional reform pushed by Mr Renzi, which would dramatically shrink the powers and size of the Italian senate and make it harder for regional governments to block key infrastructure projects.

If the measures are defeated the prime minister has vowed to resign, triggering a new political crisis in the Eurozone’s third-largest economy.

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