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Carl's increases kitty for stock buybacks

CARPINTERIA Calif. Carl's Jr. parent CKE Restaurants Inc. has earmarked an additional $50 million for the repurchase of stock, raising its total buyback allocation to $250 million. Simultaneously, the company said it has raised the amount of its term loan by $50 million, to $170 million, which will be used to reduce its revolving line of credit facility by $50 million.

CKE's board originally authorized $20 million for the repurchase of stock, roughly three years ago. The approval was raised by $50 million last Oct. 11, to $100 million, and by $50 million on both Jan. 10 and Jan. 23.

Since April 13, 2004, the restaurant operator and franchisor indicated, the company has bought back 9.7 million shares, or the equivalent of 14.7 percent of CKE's fully diluted share count, at an average price of $17.72 per share.

CKE, based here, operates or franchises 1,087 Carl's Jr. restaurants, 1,906 Hardee's outlets and 96 La Salsa Fresh Mexican Grill burrito stores.

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