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Allstate Declines TARP Bailout Funds

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Allstate Corp., the largest publicly-traded U.S. home and auto insurer, said it will not take funds from the government’s Troubled Asset Relief Program, after winning eligibility last week to do so.

Chief Executive Thomas Wilson said on Tuesday the Northbrook, Illinois-based company had more than enough capital and liquidity and could do without taxpayer funds.

The company said it had $12.2 billion of equity and $23.1 billion of cash or liquid assets in its investment portfolio as of March 31. It said it has since bolstered its finances with a $1 billion debt offering, and its securities holdings gained more than $1.5 billion in value through May 13.

Allstate on Tuesday also declared a regular quarterly dividend of 20 cents per share.

The government last week opened TARP, its $700 billion bank bailout program, to several life insurers after that industry suffered big losses from investments.

But many companies that took TARP money now want to give it back, citing restrictions over such things as pay and the perception that taking money is a sign of weakness.

Ameriprise Financial Inc., which last week also got clearance for TARP funds, later turned down the aid.

Allstate shares rose $1.50, or 5.8 percent, to $27.35 in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel; editing by John Wallace)


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