Continental Airlines (NYSE: CAL and CAL.A) announced today that it has increased the size of its stock repurchase program by the amount of cash proceeds paid from and after January 1, 2000 to the company from purchases of common stock by employees and other participants under the company’s employee stock purchase and stock option plans. Since the beginning of this year, these amounts total approximately $80 million.
In announcing the most recent increase in the carrier’s stock repurchase program, Larry Kellner, executive vice president and chief financial officer, said, “We continue to believe in returning to our investors an appropriate portion of our strong cash flow. In addition, we’re now pleased to be able to repurchase stock with the cash proceeds to the company from our equity incentive plans.”
Including today`s increase, the total amount authorized for share repurchases (including one-half of adjusted net income through June 30, 2000) aggregates $1.38 billion, of which approximately $220 million remains. The program also permits the expenditure of one-half of future adjusted net income and all of the net proceeds of future sales of non-strategic assets, together with cash proceeds paid to the company from future purchases of common stock by employees and other participants under the company’s equity incentive plans. Since the inception of the program in 1998, the company has repurchased approximately 27.2 million shares of stock and now has approximately 60.4 million diluted shares outstanding.
No time limit has been placed on the duration of the repurchase program. Continental’s repurchase program authorizes the repurchase of the company’s common stock and convertible securities. The repurchases may be effected from time to time in accordance with applicable securities laws, through solicited or unsolicited transactions in the market or in privately negotiated transactions. Subject to applicable securities laws, such repurchases will be at times and in amounts as the company deems appropriate.
Continental Airlines is the fifth largest airline in the U.S., offering more than 2,300 departures daily to 138 domestic and 96 international destinations. Operating major hubs in Newark, Houston and Cleveland, Continental (www.continental.com) serves more international cities than any other U.S. carrier, including extensive service throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia.