Washington Trust announces stock buyback program

WASHINGTON TRUST CO. posted a $69.1 million profit in 2019. / PBN FILE PHOTO/SCOTT KINGSLEY

WESTERLY – Washington Trust Bancorp Inc. is seeking to repurchase up to 850,000 shares, or 5%, of the company’s outstanding common stock over the next year.

The company, parent of The Washington Trust Co., announced that its board of directors adopted a new stock buyback program that replaces the one that was enacted in 2006.

Washington Trust said the repurchasing of shares may happen “from time to time” depending on a variety of factors, including price, corporate and regulatory requirements, market conditions, and other corporate liquidity requirements and priorities.

The repurchase program expires on Oct. 31, 2020. Washington Trust had about 17.4 million shares outstanding as of Nov. 30.

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Publicly traded companies often buy back shares from the marketplace as a way of investing in themselves, particularly if executives feel the share price is below its true value. The move can also improve a company’s financial ratios.

Repurchasing outstanding shares reduces the number available to investors in the marketplace, which boosts the ownership stake of the remaining shareholders.

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