Stonegate Bank on Thursday announced its sixth acquisition since 2009, aimed at further expanding its banking operations in Southeast and Southwest Florida.
Fort Lauderdale-based Stonegate said it has agreed to purchase Pompano Beach-based Florida Shores Bancorp and its two subsidiary banks, Florida Shores Bank-Southeast and Florida Shores Bank-Southwest, including the minority interests in the subsidiary banks held by other investors.
“We’ve been looking at banks for 18 months, looking for one that would be a good partner, and Florida Shores hits most of the guidelines,” said Dave Seleski, president and chief executive of Stonegate, during a conference call with analysts on Thursday.
Among the points he cited: Florida Shores’ clean loan portfolio, geographic fit, and outstanding president, Jim Kuhlman, who is also chief executive of Florida Shores Bank-Southwest.
Florida Shores also will raise Stonegate’s market share in Broward and Palm Beach Counties, and fill in Stonegate’s holes along Florida’s west coast.
Florida Shores Bancorp, founded in 2007, currently operates four branches on Florida’s west coast between Sarasota and Fort Myers, and three branches on Florida’s east coast in Boca Raton, Pompano Beach, and Fort Lauderdale. The bank had $555.1 million in assets on June 30.
Stonegate, founded in 2005, has offices in Boca Raton, Jupiter, Coral Springs, Naples, Coral Gables, Fort Myers, Tampa, and Doral, in addition to its headquarters in Fort Lauderdale.
BauerFinancial, the Coral Gables-based rating firm, rates Stonegate its top rating of five stars, as it does Florida Shores Bank-Southwest. Florida Shores Bank-Southeast is rated three stars.
Overall, the deal, valued at $48.8 million, is expected to increase Stonegate’s assets to $1.7 billion, placing it as the15th-largest Florida bank by total assets. During the past four years, Stonegate has made five acquisitions, and Florida Shores will be its sixth and largest to date.
Seleski said he expects some layoffs of employees, but no determination has been made. Stonegate currently has 125 employees and Florida Shores, 80.
Christopher Marinac, an analyst and director of the research department at Atlanta-based FIG Partners, LLC, lauded Stonegate’s acquisition, saying it will enhance its earnings and market position.
“It’s a good example of Stonegate being able to use the strong capital and strong liquidity they have to complete the merger,” Marinac said.
“It’s a good franchise-enhancer, to become one of the largest community banks in South Florida, and boost its lending capacity position, particularly in its core Broward market.”
The deal has been approved by the boards of Stonegate Bank, Florida Shores Bancorp, Florida Shores Bank-Southeast, and Florida Shores Bank-Southwest. Still subject to various shareholder and regulatory approvals, the acquisition is expected to be completed by the end of the year.