(Includes closing stock price.)

NEW YORK ( TheStreet.com) -- Citigroup ( C) shares continued their march higher Wednesday, closing above the $3 mark in heavy trading.

Three trading days after the completion of an exchange offer in which the company swapped new common stock for preferred securities, Citi announced in a release that Wednesday would be the settlement date for the public exchange offers.

It is also the recording date for determining holders of common stock that are entitled to vote on the company's common proxy statement, which includes a proposal to issue as many as 60 billion shares, up from 15 billion. The increase to the standing authorization to issue shares is designed to give the company room to maneuver above its current number of shares outstanding. Citi's total shares outstanding were expected to jump to as much as 23 billion from the completion of the exchange vs. 5.5 billion at June 30.

Citi's stock closed up 8.4% to $3.22 with more than one billion shares changing hands in Wednesday's regular session. The stock's three-month average trading volume is 291.4 million.

The exchange offer, announced in February, swapped roughly $58 billion worth of preferred shares and trust preferred securities for common stock. The private and public offerings included a total of $25 billion preferred securities owned by the U.S. government. The exchange transaction has made the government Citi's largest stakeholder, holding roughly 34% of the company's shares.

Analysts and investors will now be focused on how long it will take before Citi can get out from under the government's grasp. Other big financial firms including Goldman Sachs ( GS), Morgan Stanley ( MS) and JPMorgan Chase ( JPM) were able to repurchase their preferred stakes during the second quarter.

Unfortunately Citi's businesses are still struggling -- and more so than its large bank counterparts. The company's attempts to reshape itself during the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression through a deleveraging of risk, expense cuts, restructuring of core businesses and management changes, has taken a toll on its revenue. Citi has a large consumer loan book that remains troubled. It also keeps fidgeting with its executive management team and board of directors to add more commercial banking experience. Most recently the company added three new board members, including the former superintendent of the New York State Banking Department.

Shares of common stock to be issued in the public exchange offers will be delivered to the voting trust Wednesday and then delivered to the Depository Trust Company on Thursday to be issued to participants, the company also said. Additionally, shares of common stock that were issued in the public exchange offers will be "subject to an irrevocable proxy issued by the voting trustee in favor of all of the matters covered by the common proxy statement."

-- Reported by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.

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