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Author: jjaym Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 83  
Subject: Free cash flow and buybacks Date: 5/8/2003 11:39 AM
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I found this to be one of the more interesting parts of the earnings release:

"Fourth quarter cash provided by operating activities was $23 million, up 30% compared to $18 million last year. Free cash flow was $25 million, up 13% compared to $22 million last year. The fourth quarter's free cash flow of $25 million was used towards: Black Box stock repurchases of $21 million; debt reduction of $3 million; and dividend payments of $1 million. Management believes that free cash flow, defined by the Company as cash provided by operating activities less net capital expenditures, plus proceeds from option exercises, plus or minus foreign currency translation adjustments, is an important measurement of liquidity as it represents the total cash available for stock repurchases, mergers, dividend payments or debt reduction."

This strikes me as a bold move. Most of free cash was used to repurchase stock, despite an uncertain outlook. Apparently management sees no need to raise working capital. Looks like around 4% of outstanding stock was purchased. Several quarters of that at attractive prices could put a serious dent in shares outstanding as long as they don't turn around and grant it all back out again as options. Does this indicate that BBOX management sees stock repurchase as the best use of free cash and therefore indicate that BBOX stock price was attractive this past quarter? Or are they mis-managing stockholder equity?

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