Westamerica Bancorp of San Rafael, Calif., said its board approved the repurchase of nearly 7% of the company's outstanding common stock.

The parent company of Westamerica Bank said Thursday that it plans to buy up to 2 million shares of its stock on the open market or in a privately negotiated deal before Sept. 1, 2011.

The announcement comes on the heels of Westamerica Bank's acquisition of the failed Sonoma Valley Bank from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. on Aug. 20.

The repurchase will "continue to provide management with the flexibility to optimize the company's use of equity capital and enhance shareholder value," Westamerica's chairman, president and chief executive, David Payne, said in a press release.

The $4.7 billion-asset company exceeded regulatory requirements for well-capitalized status, with a 15.72% total risk-based capital ratio as of June 30.

Westamerica shares closed at $52.06 Friday, up 1% from Thursday's close of $51.53.

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