Bar Harbor Bankshares announces stock split

BAR HARBOR — The parent company of Bar Harbor Bank & Trust announced Tuesday it will be doing a stock split next month.

The three-for-two split will increase the number of shares of common stock outstanding for Bar Harbor Bankshares (BHB) from the current level of just under 10.3 million to almost 15.4 million.

The stock split will be payable “in the form of a large stock dividend” on March 21. The company’s per-share price on the New York Stock Exchange “will adjust accordingly,” BHB said in a news release.

Ben Wooten, president of Wind River Capital Management in Ellsworth, said in a typical situation a company opts to do a stock split when it is doing well and its stock price goes up — and up far enough to make the company take a second look at it.

“They may say, at that point in time, ‘That price takes it out of the range of individual investors,’” he said.

In a news release, company President and CEO Curtis Simard said BHB believes the upcoming stock split “will make our company more attractive to a broader range of investors.”

In the past 12 months, BHB’s share price has increased by more than 25 percent, from $33.78 per share on Feb. 22, 2016, to north of $42.50 in early trading on Wednesday morning. That increase comes during a time when it completed the acquisition of the New Hampshire-based Lake Sunapee Banking Group.

Simard said BHB “has generated increased value for shareholders through execution of our business strategies, stock price appreciation and quarterly cash dividends.”

Simard said Thursday that the stock split is not considered a taxable event.

Bar Harbor Bankshares is not the only locally based bank to do this type of stock split recently.

Camden National Corporation, the parent company of Camden National Bank, did the same thing — a three-for-two split, payable in the form of a stock dividend — last fall.

In a news release at the time, Camden National president and CEO Greg Dufour cited the company’s “strong financial results” through the first half of 2016, coming on the heels of its acquisition of The Bank of Maine, and struck a similar note to Simard with regard to stock price.

Dufour said Camden National’s split was expected to “place the market price of the company’s common stock in a more attractive range for investors.”

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