) approved a new share repurchase authorization of up to $2.0
million, representing 7% of the company's common stock
outstanding as of Jun 30, 2013. This buyback program is scheduled
to close by Sep 1, 2014.
Concurrently, Westamerica declared its quarterly cash dividend of
37 cents per share. The dividend will be paid on Aug 16, 2013 to
shareholders of record as of Aug 5, 2013.
In the first half of 2013, the company repurchased 444,000 shares
worth $2.0 million. Westamerica's capital deployment activities
demonstrate its steady cash position and improving credit
quality. Notably, the company's cash and due from banks was
$384.3 million as of Jun 30, 2013, up 20% year over year.
Moreover, declining provision for loan losses and non-performing
assets indicate Westamerica's enhanced credit quality.
Though Westamerica continues with its legacy of share buybacks
and dividend payouts, the disappointing second-quarter results
indicate weakness in its business activities. Second-quarter 2013
earnings of 64 cents missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by a
penny, and declined 14.7% from the prior-year quarter.
We believe that a low interest-rate environment and insignificant
investment returns will limit significant bottom-line improvement
in the near term. However, we anticipate continued synergies from
the company's expense management, conservative credit culture and
stable balance sheet. Further, once the market rebounds to a more
conducive operating environment, the company will be able to
capitalize on growth opportunities.
Apart from Westamerica,
) - a leading Midwest banking franchise - recently announced a
share repurchase authorization of up to $120.0 million. The
buyback program is subject to certain regulatory approvals.
Westamerica currently carries a Zacks #4 (Sell). Some better
performing banks include
East West Bancorp, Inc.
Umpqua Holdings Corporation
). Both of these stocks carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).
ASSOC BANC CORP (ASBC): Free Stock Analysis
EAST WEST BC (EWBC): Free Stock Analysis
UMPQUA HLDGS CP (UMPQ): Free Stock Analysis
WESTAMER BANCP (WABC): Free Stock Analysis
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