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Allstate board OKs share buyback plan of up to $1B

NORTHBROOK, Ill. (AP) -- The Allstate Corp. said Monday that its board of directors approved a plan to buy back up to $1 billion of the insurer's shares by the end of next year.

The company will fund the share buyback plan by issuing a like amount of subordinated debentures to be issued over the next year.

"Repurchasing stock at today's low multiples by issuing securities with equity-like terms takes advantage of historically low yields in the market and reduces our cost of capital," said Thomas J. Wilson, Allstate's chairman, president and CEO.

Wilson noted that the company remains financially strong, with all of its insurance subsidiaries appropriately capitalized and $2.3 billion of assets at the holding company level as of Sept. 30.

Allstate recently concluded a $1 billion stock repurchase program.

The company said it will buy shares under the new buyback plan on the open market, and may launch additional share buyback programs as the new $1 billion program is executed.

Allstate, based in Northbrook, Ill., is the nation's largest publicly held personal lines insurer. It serves roughly 16 million households through its Allstate, Encompass, Esurance and Answer Financial brand names and Allstate Financial business segment.

Allstate shares rose 61 cents to close at $40.79.