June 2, 2017 / 10:11 AM / 2 months ago

Ipsen CFO says group does not plan any large share buyback operation

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PARIS, June 2 (Reuters) - French pharmaceutical group Ipsen does not plan any large share buyback operation for the moment, chief financial officer Aymeric Le Chatelier said on Friday.

"We don't plan any large-scale share buybacks, apart from regular operations," Le Chatelier said by phone as he sought to explain a spike in the company's share price that followed a regulatory announcement.

Under French market rules, Ipsen was compelled to provide an update of the market conditions under which potential future share buybacks might take place because its stock price has almost doubled over the last six months, and because shareholders must vote to approve it at next week's annual meeting, the CFO said.

The updated maximum purchase price to be proposed at next week's shareholders meeting is now set at 200 euros per share and the maximum amount for a potential share buybacks is set at 1.67 billion euros, the filing said.

"There was some confusion earlier this morning," he said, explaning that the new price did not increase the likelihood that an actual buyback would take place.

Ipsen told analysts last month that it would focus its capital allocation on acquisitions for more than 1 billion euros in total by 2020, according to a slide from its presentation.

The group also confirmed its targets at meeting with analysts in French southeastern city of Nice on Thursday, including a mid-term goal of achieving 2.5 billion euros in yearly sales and an operating margin of more than 30 percent by 2020, Societe Generale said in a note to clients.

Ipsen's shares hit an all-time high in early Paris trading, gaining up to 11 percent. They later fell back to stand 4.5 percent higher.

Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain; Editing by Andrew Callus

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