UPDATE 1-Hartford repays TARP, no plan to buy back warrants

Wed Mar 31, 2010 1:53pm EDT

* Pays back $3.4 bln taxpayer funds

* Also pays final dividend payment of about $21.7 million

* Treasury still holds warrants to buy 52 mln common shrs

* Stock up about 2 percent

March 31 (Reuters) - Life and property insurer Hartford Financial Services Group (HIG.N) said it does not intend to repurchase warrants the U.S. Treasury holds, although it bought back all of $3.4 billion preferred shares from the government.

The giant insurer joins large regional lender Comerica Inc (CMA.N), which said on Tuesday it would not repurchase the warrants issued during the U.S. Treasury's massive financial bailout plan.

Last week, Hartford said it sold $1.1 billion in senior notes to help repay the taxpayer funds. The debt offering was part of a wider capital raise announced by the Connecticut-based insurer last week, that also raised $1.95 billion in stock.

Many recipients of bailout funds now view participation in the program as a stigma because of a perception that doing so is a sign of weakness, or because of a public backlash against perceived excessive government involvement in the sector.[ID:nN17187011]

Hartford shares were up about 2 percent at $28.49 Wednesday afternoon on the New York Stock Exchange. They have recovered significantly since hitting a 52-week low of $6.52 a year back. (Reporting by Anurag Kotoky in Bangalore; Editing by Ratul Ray Chaudhuri)

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