Citigroup Aims to Buy Back $1.2 Billion of Stock

Thursday, 07 Mar 2013 06:13 PM

 

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Citigroup Inc., the third-biggest U.S. bank, asked the Federal Reserve for permission to repurchase $1.2 billion of shares without seeking a dividend increase a year after its previous request was rejected.

The planned buyback would “offset estimated dilution created by annual incentive compensation grants,” the New York-based company said Thursday in a presentation on its website. The lender didn’t disclose whether the Fed approved the request.

Citigroup Chief Executive Officer Michael Corbat is seeking to avoid the missteps of predecessor Vikram Pandit, who failed to convince regulators that the lender could boost shareholder rewards and survive an economic slump. Last year’s rebuff helped lead the bank’s directors to conclude that Pandit mismanaged operations, a person familiar with the matter said at the time, and they replaced him with Corbat months later.

The six biggest U.S. banks may return about $41 billion to investors in the next 12 months, the most since 2007, if they pass the annual stress tests, designed to gauge whether the nation’s largest lenders can withstand another economic shock.

Pandit scrapped Citigroup’s dividend in 2009 after the company received a $45 billion taxpayer bailout to prevent its collapse. He introduced a 1-cent quarterly payout in 2011, which returned about $120 million to shareholders last year, according to an annual filing.

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