Announces stock repurchase program
THE SWISS HELVETIA FUND, INC. ANNOUNCES STOCK REPURCHASE PROGRAM
The Board of Directors of The Swiss Helvetia Fund, Inc. (NYSE: SWZ), a closed-end investment company, announced today that it has approved a stock repurchase program for the Fund. Under the program, which will take effect immediately, the Fund is authorized to make open-market repurchases of its common stock of up to $30 million (8% of its current net assets). Based on the closing price of the Fund's common stock on the NYSE on December 22, 2009, the program could result in a maximum repurchase of approximately 2.62 million shares of the Fund. Based on these amounts, the repurchase program, if fully executed, would reduce the number of issued and outstanding shares of the Fund by approximately 8%.
The Fund expects to repurchase its common stock when the discount to net asset value 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. Based on current estimates and market conditions, the program should enable the Fund to realize capital gains that are embedded in various of the Fund's portfolio holdings and distribute those gains to all the Fund's stockholders by means of the stock repurchase program, without material adverse tax consequences. One consequence of repurchasing stock below net asset value would be to increase the net asset value per share of the remaining stock. Another consequence of the stock repurchase program may be a higher expense ratio as certain fixed expenses are distributed over a smaller asset base. A further consequence of the stock repurchase program may be to reduce the discount from the net asset value 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.
To the extent practicable and deemed necessary by the Fund's investment adviser, sales of the Fund's portfolio securities to raise cash to repurchase the Fund's shares of common stock pursuant to the program will be made in a manner that will not result in the distribution of material net realized capital gains to the Fund's stockholders, including by using current losses and capital loss carryforwards to offset long-term capital gains in those securities that otherwise would be taxable to the Fund's stockholders.
The Board of Directors of the Fund may amend this 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 shares of 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 net asset value per share, in its 2010 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.