DENVER – Ovintiv (NYSE: OVV) (TSX: OVV) today announced it is progressing its commitment to increase shareholder returns with the receipt of regulatory approvals for a share buy-back program. This action is consistent with the Company’s capital allocation framework, which supports the goal of unlocking shareholder value by delivering on Ovintiv’s strategic priorities of financial strength, increasing cash returns to shareholders, generating superior returns on capital investment, and driving ESG progress.
The TSX has accepted Ovintiv’s notice of intention to implement a normal course issuer bid (NCIB) to purchase up to 26,048,261 common shares during the 12-month period commencing October 1, 2021, and ending September 30, 2022. The number of shares authorized for purchase represents 10 percent of Ovintiv’s public float as of September 20, 2021. Purchases will be made on the open market through the facilities of the TSX, New York Stock Exchange and/or alternative trading systems at the market price at the time of acquisition, as well as by other means permitted by stock exchange rules and securities laws including Rule 10b-18 under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended.
Ovintiv has also entered into an automatic share purchase plan (ASPP) allowing it to purchase common shares under the NCIB when Ovintiv would ordinarily not be permitted to purchase shares due to regulatory restrictions and customary self-imposed blackout periods. Pursuant to the ASPP, Ovintiv will provide instructions during non-blackout periods to its designated broker, which may not be varied or suspended during the blackout period. Purchases by Ovintiv’s designated broker will be in accordance with stock exchange rules, applicable securities laws and the terms of the ASPP. All purchases made under the ASPP are included in computing the number of common shares purchased under the NCIB. The ASPP has been pre-cleared as required by the stock exchanges.
The actual number of common shares that may be purchased under the NCIB and the timing of any such purchases will be determined by Ovintiv. The average daily trading volume through the facilities of the TSX, excluding purchases made on such facilities, during the most recently completed six-month period was 419,746 common shares. Consequently, daily purchases through the facilities of the TSX will be limited to 104,936 common shares, other than block purchase exceptions. Purchases over the NYSE will be made in compliance with the volume limitations in Rule 10b-18 in relation to average daily trading volume and block trades. All common shares acquired by Ovintiv under the NCIB may be cancelled or returned to treasury as authorized but unissued shares.
As previously announced, beginning in the fourth quarter of 2021, and until Ovintiv reaches its $3 billion net debt* target, the company plans to return 25% of the previous quarter’s free cash flow after base dividends to its shareholders through share buy-backs and/or variable dividends. Once the Company reaches its net debt target of $3 billion, it plans to increase quarterly shareholder returns to at least 50% of the previous quarter’s free cash flow after base dividends.