WestJet continues its policy to use excess cash to lower long-term debt and buy back stock.
The Canadian carrier has been authorised to purchase up to 6,914,330 common voting shares and variable voting shares during the one-year period to 9 February 2013. This represents approximately 5% of WestJet's currently issued and outstanding shares.
TD Securities was appointed as the broker firm responsible for making purchases of shares under the bid on behalf of WestJet.
For the 12-months period to 4 November 2011, WestJet completed the purchase and cancellation of 7,264,820 shares under its prior normal course issuer at a volume weighted average price of C$14.57 ($14.64) per share and for total cash consideration of C$106.0 million.
The carrier ended the year 2011 with C$1.24 billion cash and cash equivalents, up from C$1.16 billion at the end of 2010. Restricted cash accounted for C$48.3 million compared with C$28.6 million at 31 December 2010.
Last year, WestJet repaid about C$200 million of its long-term debt. At the end of last year long term debt totaled C$670 million.
WestJet currently operates 13 Boeing 737-600s, 69 737-700s and 15 737-800s and will add three 737-800s in 2012. One aircraft will be leased from Aviation Capital Group.