Zions' TARP Exit Barely Moves Share Needle

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Zions Bancorporation ( ZION) on Wednesday announced that it had redeemed the remaining preferred shares held by the government for bailout assistance received in November 2008 through the Troubled Assets Relief Program, or TARP.

The company's shares were up 1% in afternoon trading, to $20.54.

The Salt Lake City lender bought repurchased the remaining $700 million in TARP preferred shares held by the U.S Treasury, after repaying its $700 million, after repaying $700 million in TARP money during the first quarter. The company said it had paid the government total dividends of $253 million and that as a result of the repayment, its third-quarter "dividend expense is expected to be approximately $23 million, compared to $37 million recorded in the second quarter 2012 results."

Zions CEO Harris Simmons said the company was "pleased to report that we have completed the steps that we had proposed to the Federal Reserve in January, which were accepted as terms to redeem the TARP shares," and said that the preferred stock redemption was expected to "increase our annualized return on equity in the fourth quarter by approximately one percentage point compared to the third quarter results."

Zions will report its third-quarter results on Oct. 22, after the market closes. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters estimate the company will report third-quarter earnings of 33 cents a share, although estimates will no doubt be changing as a result of the TARP preferred redemption.

The U.S. Treasury said that "with today's repayment, the overall positive return on TARP's bank programs now totals more than $21 billion," as the government "invested a total of $245 billion through TARP's bank programs and has now recovered more than $266 billion to date through repayments, dividends, interest, and other income."

"Going forward, each additional dollar recovered through TARP's bank programs represents an additional dollar of profit from those programs for taxpayers," the agency said.

Zions Bancorporation's shares closed at $20.33 Tuesday, returning 25% year-to-date, following a 33% decline during 2011.

The shares traded for just over their reported June 30 tangible book value of $19.65, and for 12 times the consensus 2013 Earnings estimate of $1.75 a share, among analysts polled by Thomson Reuters. The consensus 2012 EPS estimate is $1.15.

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