Safeco Announces $250 Million Share Repurchase Program

Seattle-based Safeco has executed a Rule 10b5-1 trading plan to purchase up to $250 million of its outstanding common stock. That will allow Safeco to repurchase its shares during periods when the company would normally not be active in the market because of its own internal trading windows.

“We are committed to a thoughtful evaluation of our capital management strategy as we continue to enjoy a growing surplus from strong profitability,” said Paula Rosput Reynolds, Safeco president and chief executive officer. “Returning excess capital to shareholders through share repurchases makes eminently good sense and is especially compelling at these valuation levels.”

On Dec. 1, 2005, Safeco reported that its board of directors had increased the company’s share repurchase authorization to 10 million shares, which is equal to 8.1 percent of Safeco’s shares outstanding at Dec. 31, 2005.

Since 2003, Safeco has repurchased 18.7 million shares, or 13.5 percent of its then outstanding shares, at a total cost of $919 million.

If the 10b5-1 program is fully executed, approximately 5 million shares will remain available for repurchase under board-approved repurchase programs.