Food Lion Plans to Repurchase Up to $100 Million of Its Stock

Article excerpt

Associated Press

SALISBURY, N.C. _ Saying he, too, was frustrated with the value of his shares, Food Lion Chairman Tom Smith told shareholders at Thursday's annual meeting that the supermarket chain will buy back up to $100 million of its common stock.

"I heard a lot of you express your feelings about the stock price," Smith told about 600 shareholders who attended the company's meeting at Catawba College. "I'm a shareholder, too.

"We've taken a lot of steps and we feel we're on track for a growth strategy," Smith said. "Food Lion is committed to the long-term value of its stockholders."

Smith received loud applause when he announced the board's decision on Wednesday to buy back the stock, which would total about 4 percent of its roughly 484 million outstanding shares.

Smith said the company will buy the shares from time to time on the open market, with a goal of increasing shareholder value.

In afternoon trading, Food Lion stock was up 12 cents at $5.50 a share on the Nasdaq stock market. Shares have been hovering between $5 and $6 a share for months.

While the meeting lacked the fireworks of recent years, a spokesman for a pro-union group criticizing the grocery chain for selling outdated products was drowned out by shouts and loud coughs when he rose to speak. …