First Niagara Financial Group Inc. in Lockport, N.Y., is restocking its capital — again.

With its expansion into Pennsylvania underway through two large acquisitions there, the $13.6 billion-asset company said Wednesday that it intends to sell $400 million of common stock so it can continue the buying spree.

This is the third time in less than a year that First Niagara has tapped the capital markets. The previous stock sales — $115 million in October and $380 million in April — came when few other banking companies could manage to raise capital.

In announcing a deal in July to buy the struggling $5.6 billion-asset Harleysville National Corp. in the Philadephia area, John Koelmel, First Niagara's president and chief executive officer, had said it planned to keep looking for other acquisitions and might sell more stock. The current "window of opportunity" to grow is unique, he said in an interview at the time. "And we can't do that without capital."

The company closed this month on a deal to buy 57 former National City Corp. branches in the Pittsburgh area from PNC Financial Services Group Inc. Together the Nat City and Harleysville deals more than double First Niagara's branch count and increase its asset size by 87%.

First Niagara could not comment Wednesday because of a quiet period. It said in a press release that it would give the underwriters of its stock offering the option to purchase up to an additional 15% of the shares, so it could go over its $400 million target.

The company has already repaid the $184 million of capital it received through the Treasury Department's Troubled Asset Relief Program.

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