We are committed to paying a sustainable dividend. Additionally, in recent years we have returned excess cash to the financial markets in the form of share buyback programs and an extraordinary return of capital.
ASMI aims to pay a sustainable annual dividend. Annually, the Supervisory Board, upon proposal of the Management Board, will assess the amount of dividend that will be proposed to the Annual General Meeting of Shareholders (AGM). The decision that a dividend be proposed to the AGM will be subject to the availability of distributable profits as well as retained earnings and may be affected by our potential future funding requirements. Accordingly, dividend payments may fluctuate and could decline or be omitted in any year.
The proposed dividend for 2018 will mark the eighth consecutive year that we have paid a dividend. In 2012, 2013 and 2014, we paid a dividend of €0.50 per common share. In 2015 we paid a dividend of €0.60 per common share and in 2016 and 2017 we paid a dividend of €0.70 per common share.
ASMI will propose to the forthcoming 2018 AGM, which will be held on May 28, 2018, to declare a dividend of €0.80 per common share.
Ex-dividend date shares Euronext and OTC US: May 30, 2018
Record date: May 31, 2018
Payment date: June 7, 2018
In addition to the proposed dividend, ASMI announced on February 28, 2018, that it intends to propose to the 2018 AGM to distribute €4.00 per common share free of any withholding tax. To this end it is proposed that the distribution is effected as a repayment of capital to the shareholders by way of a reduction of the par value of the common shares. Moreover, on the same data ASMI announced that it will propose to the 2018 AGM the cancellation of 6 million treasury shares.
In July 2013, ASMI distributed €4.25 per ordinary share to its shareholders. This followed on the sale of 12% of the total shares in ASMPT in March 2013. The extraordinary return of capital in 2013 was in addition to the dividend paid that year.
On September 22, 2017, ASMI announced the start of a new share buyback program of its common shares for the period 2017-2018. This program followed on ASMI's announcement on April 24, 2017, that the proceeds of approximately €245 million of the secondary share placement on that date of a stake of approximately 5% in ASM Pacific Technology were intended to be used for a new share buyback program. The 2017-2018 program will end as soon as the aggregate purchase price of the common shares acquired by ASMI has reached €250 million, but ultimately on November 25, 2018. ASMI strives to complete the program well before that date. The program will in any event take place within the mandate given by the shareholders during the AGM of May 22, 2017.
This share buyback program will be executed by a third party. ASMI has the intention to reduce its capital by cancelling the repurchased shares after having received approval from its shareholders. The repurchase program is part of ASMI's commitment to use excess cash for the benefit of its shareholders. ASMI updates the market on the progress of the share buyback program on a weekly base. This information will also be published on the ASMI website (www.asm.com).
As of December 29, 2017, we bought back approximately 2.6 million shares under the 2017-2018 program at an average price of €56.77 and for a total amount of €150 million. As of March 9, 2018, a total of 4.26 million shares have been bought under this program at an average price of €56.93 for an amount of €243 million.
In 2017, we also completed the €100 million share buyback program 2016-2017. This program was announced on October 26, 2016 - initially for an amount of €50 million - and was increased to €100 million as announced on March 2, 2017. Under the 2016-2017 share buyback program that was completed on August 28, 2017, we repurchased 1,997,522 shares at an average price of €50.06.
Furthermore, ASMI announced on February 28, 2018, that it plans to use €250 million for a new share buyback program.
During the whole of 2017, we bought back a total of approximately 4.4 million shares at an average share price of €54.27 and for a total value of approximately €240 million. This compares with a total of approximately 2.7 million bought back in 2016 at an average price of €36.31 and for a total value of €97 million.
The program announced in September 2017 is the fourth consecutive share buyback program. In addition to the 2016-2017 program the earlier programs were:
During 2017, we returned approximately €285 million to shareholders in the form of dividends and share buybacks. This was up from €140 million in 2016 and €116 million in 2015. Over the 2010-2017 period, we returned more than €1 billion to the financial markets through dividends, share buybacks, return of capital, and buyback of convertible bonds.