A flurry of major companies across Europe and the U.K. have announced buybacks this week after Shell, Deutsche Bank and Novo Nordisk said last week that they would reward shareholders in the same fashion. Shipping giant Maersk, on the other hand, suspended its buyback program on Thursday, citing pricing concerns related to the disruptive violence in the Red Sea.

Here is a list of companies that have said this week they plan to buy back shares:

-- Anglo-Dutch retailer Unilever will launch a 1.50 billion euro ($1.62 billion) buyback initiative in the second quarter after a smaller-than-expected drop in net profit for last year, the owner of Dove and Ben & Jerry's said Thursday.

-- French lender Societe Generale said Thursday that it would launch a buyback of EUR280 million despite a steep drop in fourth-quarter net profit. The buyback program could signal a recovery, however, Bank of America analysts said in a note.

-- French oil and gas company TotalEnergies said Wednesday that it plans $2 billion of share buybacks in the first quarter of the year and that this will remain the base level for quarterly buybacks in the current environment.

-- Norwegian energy major Equinor aims to return $14 billion to shareholders, through dividends and a buyback program worth between $10 billion and $12 billion over the next two years, with $6 billion expected in 2024.

-- Danish brewer Carlsberg launched a buyback of 1.0 billion Danish kronor ($144.2 million).

-- British grocer J Sainsbury said it intends to buy back shares valued at 200 million pounds ($252 million) over its fiscal 2025, and launched a cost-saving program.

-- Danish jeweler Pandora said that it will buy back shares worth DKK4.0 billion as part of a plan to return DKK5.5 billion to shareholders this year following an increase in fourth-quarter net profit.

-- Oil-and-gas giant BP boosted its buyback program on Tuesday to $1.75 billion in each of the first two quarters this year compared with a share purchase of $1.5 billion in the previous quarter.

-- Swiss bank UBS said Tuesday it would reinstate its buyback program to the tune of $1 billion in the second half after pausing own-share purchases amid the Credit Suisse acquisition last year.

-- Italian bank Unicredit said Monday that it plans shareholder distributions of 8.6 billion euros ($9.24 billion) corresponding to 2023, including dividends and share buybacks. For 2024, the bank expects to raise distributions to EUR10 billion through a combination of dividends and buybacks that will depend on market conditions, it said.

-- German skincare company Beiersdorf announced a buyback of EUR500 million on Monday that will start in May.

-- Italian lender Intesa Sanpaolo said Tuesday that it would buy back shares this year, but didn't provide a figure.

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(END) Dow Jones Newswires

02-08-24 1015ET