People's United shares could rise 20 percent: report

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Shares in People's United Financial Inc PBCT.O, which has dodged the credit crisis by avoiding subprime loans and is now eyeing acquisitions, could gain around 20 percent, Barron's reported in its August 25 edition.

The report quoted Chief Executive Philip Sherringham as saying that an acquisition could help the Bridgeport, Connecticut-based company double its earnings over the next two to three years.

The shares would better reflect the bank’s value at around $22, Barron’s said. They closed on Friday at $17.06.

Sherringham recently told Reuters that the company had too much capital and would use it for acquisitions. He did not elaborate on potential targets, but said People’s United was not aspiring to become a national bank.

Barron's quoted Sherringham as saying it was "not impossible" for a deal to be done this year. People's United competes with Northwest Bancorp NWSB.O, The Bancorp TBBK.O, Downey Financial DSL.N and First Niagara Financial Group FNFG.O.

Editing by Maureen Bavdek