Westamerica to buy back 2m shares

15 September 2006

Westamerica Bankcorp has announced plans to buy back up to two million shares of its common stock on the open market.

The share repurchase plan represents a buy-back of around 6.4 per cent of the bank's common stock, according to reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and replaces an earlier repurchasing plan proposed and approved in August this year.

Explaining the reasons behind Westamerica's decision to buy the shares, the bank's chairman, president and chief executive David Payne said that his company needed more flexibility in order to enhance shareholder value.

"This stock repurchase program is being adopted to continue to provide management with the flexibility to optimize the company's use of equity capital and enhance shareholder value. Westamerica's strong capital position, high level of profitability, and low-risk balance sheet supported the initiation of this new program," he said in a statement.

Westamerica Bancorp is the parent company of Westamerica Bank, which currently has assets of $4.9 billion, operating 87 branches mainly in California.

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