MONROE, Ohio -- First Financial Bancorp said its board approved the repurchase of up to 200,000 of its common shares.

The $1.5 billion-asset holding company said the buyback plan will be funded with up to $5 million in cash or cash-equivalent short-term securities in its portfolio. The purchased shares will be held as treasury stock and would be subject to reissuance in the future for use in acquisitions or other business-related purposes, the company said.

First Financial said a similar plan in 1991 resulted in the repurchase of about 143,400 shares, or 2.34% of outstanding shares.

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