Dec 4 - Ameris Bancorp (NASDAQ-GS: ABCB), has announced that the company has received regulatory approval for it to repurchase up to $24 million in shares of the preferred stock the company originally issued to the U.S. Treasury under the Troubled Asset Relief Program in November 2008. The company intends to effect such repurchases as soon as practicable in order to reduce the dividends payable with respect to the preferred stock, thereby positively impacting the company's 2013 results. The company anticipates completing additional periodic reductions in the remaining balance of the original $52 million TARP preferred stock investment through February 2014, subject to the receipt of regulatory approval and available earnings. The preferred stock was sold by the Treasury to other investors in June 2012 through a registered public offering as part of the Treasury's efforts to wind down its remaining TARP bank investments.
"We are pleased to start the process of retiring the TARP preferred stock. This additional capital gave us flexibility during a tough economic cycle and has allowed us to execute offensive strategies and continue growing. Our plans remain intact to retire all of the preferred shares before the stock's dividend rate increases, without issuing additional common shares," said Edwin W. Hortman Jr., president and CEO.
Ameris Bancorp is headquartered in Moultrie, Ga., and at the end of the most recent quarter had 66 locations in Georgia, Alabama, northern Florida and South Carolina.