While a hotel sent pink slips to workers, it was buying back almost $200 million of its own stock to, presumably, boost its price.
“This summer, as Loews Corp. was laying off thousands of hotel workers at its Universal Orlando properties amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the company was spending nearly $200 million buying back its own stock, according to filings with the SEC.
On an earnings call on Nov. 2, Loews CEO Jim Tisch talked about the strategy, saying he believed the stock was undervalued and that over the three months ending Sept. 30, they had taken advantage of the ‘market’s discount,’ by purchasing 5.4 million shares for $195 million.
‘That being said, our decision to buy back stock has not come at the expense of any of our subsidiaries,’ Tisch said. ‘For example, we have provided capital to Loews Hotels to help it ride out the effects of COVID on the hospitality industry.’
Tisch did not say how much money was allocated to the hotel division.
The move came after Universal closed hotels a second time during the pandemic. In March, hotel employees had been furloughed, but many returned to work when the park reopened in June.
Loews has since reopened several hotels and announced the reopening of more in December, but some properties, such as the Aventura and Sapphire Falls, remain closed. The company has not announced how many employees it has brought back.
‘We have Loews workers sitting in their cars over night to get food from our food banks,’ said Jeremy Haicken, president of Unite Here Local 737, the union that represents Disney hospitality workers as well as some from other area hotels, although not Loews properties. ‘What are they going to do for those folks? Clearly, the company has the money.'”
For the rest of the story, visit the Orlando Sentinel here.