Announces one-time tender offer program and extension of 2010 stock repurchase program
THE SWISS HELVETIA FUND, INC. ANNOUNCES ONE-TIME TENDER OFFER PROGRAM AND EXTENSION OF 2010 STOCK REPURCHASE PROGRAM
New York, New York-January 25, 2011
The Swiss Helvetia Fund, Inc. (NYSE: SWZ), a closed-end investment company, announced today that, after lengthy consideration of the votes received on a stockholder proposal at the Fund's 2010 Annual Stockholder Meeting, the Fund's Board of Directors has approved the Fund making up to two tender offers in 2011, each for up to 5% of the Fund's outstanding common stock, at a price per share equal to 98% of the Fund's net asset value ("NAV") per share as determined by the Fund on the next business day following the expiration date of the tender offer, or such later date to which the offer is extended. The Fund will conduct a tender offer if the average discount to NAV of the trading price of its common stock on the New York Stock Exchange ("NYSE") is greater than 10% during the applicable twelve-week measurement period. The first measurement period will commence on March 1, 2011, and the second measurement period will commence on September 1, 2011. The determination as to whether payments to tendering stockholders will be made in cash or in the Fund's portfolio securities will be made at the time of each tender offer based upon tax and other considerations. In addition, stockholders may be limited to tendering no more than 5% of their shares of the Fund's common stock in each tender offer.
The Fund's Board of Directors also has approved the extension of the Fund's stock repurchase program that had been in effect at the end of 2009 and during 2010. Under that program, the Fund was authorized to make open-market repurchases of its common stock of up to $30,000,000. As of December 31, 2010, the Fund had repurchased $25,120,923 worth of its common stock. Under the extension of the 2010 program, the Fund is authorized to repurchase the remaining $4,879,077 worth of its common stock, under the same terms of the 2010 program. The Fund expects to repurchase its common stock when the discount to NAV of the trading price of its common stock on the NYSE is greater than 5%, subject to various factors, including the limitations imposed by the federal securities laws governing the repurchase of an issuer's stock by the issuer and the ability of the Fund's investment adviser to raise cash to repurchase shares of the Fund's common stock in a tax-efficient manner. The Board may consider an additional stock repurchase program for the duration of 2011, which will depend, in part, on the costs and tax consequences to the Fund and its stockholders of completing the stock repurchases under the extended 2010 program and any tender offers. The Fund's Board has authorized a stock repurchase program for the Fund each year since 1999, in part because repurchasing stock below NAV increases the NAV per share of the remaining stock, which benefits all of the Fund's stockholders. Repurchases made under the Fund's 2010 stock repurchase program resulted in accretion to the Fund's NAV of $3,915,840.
One consequence of the tender offers and the extension of the 2010 stock repurchase program may be a higher expense ratio as certain fixed expenses are distributed over a smaller asset base, as the Fund's assets could be reduced by more than 10% in 2011. A further consequence of the tender offers and the extension of the 2010 stock repurchase program may be to reduce temporarily the discount of the NAV per share of the Fund's common stock to the trading price of the Fund's common stock on the NYSE, although no assurance can be given as to the extent, if any, or duration of any reduction in the discount.
The Board of Directors of the Fund may amend or terminate the Fund's stock repurchase program, solely in its discretion, at any time during the duration of the program. The Board may amend the program in response to various events, including, but not limited to, changing market conditions, material variations in the Fund's discount level, potential and meaningful adverse effects upon the Fund's expense ratio and changes in the ability of the Fund to raise cash to repurchase its common stock in a tax-efficient manner.
Any amendment to the Fund's announced stock repurchase program will be publicly disclosed. The Fund will disclose certain information about its stock repurchase program, including the total dollar amount, number of shares repurchased and accretion to the Fund's NAV per share, in its 2011 Stockholder Reports.
About The Swiss Helvetia Fund, Inc.
The Fund (www.swz.com) is a non-diversified, closed-end management investment company seeking long-term capital appreciation through investment primarily in equity and equity-linked securities of Swiss companies. Its shares are listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "SWZ."
The Fund is managed by Hottinger Capital Corp. For further information, please contact Rudolf Millisits, Executive Vice President of Hottinger Capital Corp., at 1-888-SWISS-00 or 1-212-332-2760, 1270 Avenue of the Americas, Suite 400, New York, New York 10020.