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Associated Banc-Corp (ASBC - Analyst Report) – a leading Midwest banking franchise – recently announced new share repurchase authorization of up to $120.0 million. The buyback program is subject to certain regulatory approvals.

Earlier, in Nov 2012, Associated’s board of directors authorized share repurchases of up to $125.0 million. Notably, shares worth $35.0 million are yet to be purchased under this share repurchase scheme.

Concurrent with the new share repurchase program, Associated announced a regular quarterly cash dividend of 8 cents per share. The dividend will be paid on Sep 16, 2013 to shareholders of record as on Sep 3, 2013.

Further, the company declared a regular quarterly cash dividend of 50 cents per depositary share on its 8.00% Series B Perpetual Preferred Stock. This dividend will be paid on Sep 16, 2013 to shareholders of record as on Sep 3, 2013.

Moreover, management authorized the redemption of all 9.250% Subordinated Notes and purchase of 8.0% perpetual Preferred Stock, Series B of up to $10.0 million.

Associated’s robust second-quarter results enabled it to reward shareholders with higher returns. Earnings came in at 28 cents per share, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 25 cents. This also compared favorably with 24 cents earned in the year-ago quarter. The quarter was marked by top-line growth, partially marred by higher operating expenses.

Associated remains committed to its motive of returning maximum income to stockholders. Its significant capital deployment activities reinstate investors’ confidence in the stock.

Associated currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better performing banks include First Merchants Corporation (FRME - Snapshot Report), Mercantile Bank Corp. (MBWM - Snapshot Report) and PrivateBancorp, Inc. (PVTB - Snapshot Report). All these stocks have a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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