LifePoint boosts buyback program

Hospital operator's plan grows to 9% of outstanding stock

The directors of LifePoint Hospitals have voted to increase their share repurchase program by $100 million, meaning the company now has the capacity to buy back more than 9 percent of its outstanding shares.

The board also has extended the lifespan of the buyback program to August of next year. It had been set to expire later this month. Brentwood-based LifePoint adopted its current $250 million plan in 2011 and has so far spent $155 million to buy back stock. The company can use both cash on hand and the proceeds of borrowings to buy back more.

LifePoint shares (Ticker: LPNT) closed Friday trading at $44.09 and are up about 17 percent so far this year. But it has badly lagged the numbers of its local peers over the past six months: Both Community Health Systems and Vanguard Health Systems are up more than 50 percent over that time versus LifePoint's roughly 10 percent.