Saul Centers (NYSE:BFS), a Bethesda, Maryland-based Real Estate Investment Trust, is proposing the company amend its charter to increase the number of authorized shares of common stock by 50%, the company announced in a preliminary proxy statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission late Friday.

The amendment, if approved by a vote at the company's annual stockholders meeting to be held on May 10, 2013, would increase the authorized shares from 30 million to 40 million. As of March 4, there were just under 20 million shares of Saul Center common stock issued.

The board of directors says the ability to issue more shares would give the company a reserve to meet present and future needs, such as flexibility in responding to a merger or acquisition bid.

Saul Centers specializes in the buying and leasing of shopping centers and office/mixed-use properties in the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, Maryland metropolitan areas.