Friday, January 21, 2022

Republic First in Penn. delays plan to raise capital

Republic First Bancorp in Philadelphia is delaying plans to raise more capital. 

Executives of the $5.6 billion-asset company made the disclosure during a Thursday conference call to discuss fourth-quarter results. 

“As the quarter progressed, we made the decision that it would be in the best interest of not only the bank but our shareholders to do that raise at a time that would be most optable from a stock price perspective,” Frank Cavallaro, Republic First’s chief financial officer, said during the call. 

“We'll continue to monitor market conditions and assess alternative strategies as we get into” 2022, Cavallaro added. “At this time, we are comfortable with our capital levels at the levels they're at today.”

Vernon Will, Republic First’s chairman and CEO, added that the company would consider several factors, including growth rates, pricing and dilution to tangible book value, before revisiting the capital raise. 

“We have actually slowed our growth rate down,” Hill said during the call.

"If you notice, our new store count is down in the last few years as we're slowing it down,” Hill added. “It's being offset by the growth per store. … We're just going to have to look at all the facts at the time to make a decision, and we'll keep everybody up to date.” 

The disclosure comes a month after an activist investor voiced his objections to the capital raise. 

 Driver Management has said it will nominate three candidates for the company’s board at the next annual meeting. Driver wants the company to replace Hill with an independent chairman. 

Republic First’s earnings increased by 49% in the fourth quarter from a year earlier, to $6.1 million.

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