Cascades Inc. is helping investors who own up to 99 of its shares for the first time to sell shares of the paper recycler without paying a brokerage commission.
The Quebec-based company said the move will encourage small investors to dispose of their shares and save the company the cost of issuing tiny quarterly dividends.
Cascades said the program’s cost won’t be material. It will take the shares, bundle them in 100-share lots and sell them back on the market.
Riko Gaudreault, director of investor relations, said the company frequently gets calls from people who have inherited just a few shares and receive the 4-cents-a-share quarterly dividend.
Disposing of those shares can cost more than their actual value and bank transaction fees can exceed the size of dividend cheques received.
“It is a bit cumbersome for everybody, for us to issue a cheque for them to cash it,” he said in an interview.
Cascades used to give its employees one share. It also participated in a program in the 1980s when the Quebec government provided a subsidy to those who invested in the stock market for at least three years.
Mr. Gaudreault believes many of the eligible investors will live in Quebec, but the shares could have been dispersed elsewhere through inheritance.
“There’s demand for it so we decided to take the bull by the horns and get that cleaned up,” he said.
The program starts Friday and will run until Dec. 17, unless extended. Those who purchased common shares through the Cascades employee share-purchase plan are ineligible to sell them without paying a commission.
Cascades has retained Georgeson Shareholder Communications Canada Inc. to manage the program. Shareholders need to contact Georgeson directly at 1-866-962-0494.
Founded in 1964, Cascades produces, converts and markets packaging and tissue products composed mainly of recycled fibres. The Kingsey Falls, Que.-based company employs nearly 12,000 workers at more than 100 sites in North America and Europe.