November 3, 2015 / 5:16 PM / 2 years ago

Community Health says can boost share buyback program

Nov 3 (Reuters) - Community Health Systems Inc, the second-largest for-profit U.S. hospital operator, said it has the ability to increase its share repurchase program by more than $300 million under its current bank credit facility.

Community has about $150 million remaining under its existing share repurchase authorization, Chief Executive Wayne Smith said Tuesday on the company’s earnings conference call.

The company will increase the authorization “as necessary,” Smith said, noting that buying shares was an appropriate use of cash given the company’s lower share price.

Community Health shares were down 1.5 percent at $27.99 at midday Tuesday, a day after the company released disappointing third-quarter results. The stock has lost more than half of its value since June as investors, concerned about slowing demand for healthcare services in the second year of the Affordable Care Act, rotated out of hospital shares.

Reporting by Susan Kelly in Chicago; Editing by Christian Plumb

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