Tuesday, April 26, 2022

First Bancshares in Miss. to buy Florida's Beach Bank

First Bancshares in Hattiesburg, Miss., has agreed to buy Beach Bancorp in Fort Walton Beach, Fla. 

The $6.1 billion-asset First said in a press release Tuesday that it will pay $117 million in stock for the $620 million-asset Beach. The deal, which is expected to close by the end of this year, priced Beach at 143% of its tangible book value. 

Beach has seven branches, $492 million of deposits and $456 million of loans. 

“We are thrilled to be joining forces with Beach Bank and continuing to grow our presence in Florida,” Hoppy Cole, First’s president and CEO, said in the release. “In addition to strengthening our northwest Florida markets, Beach will add the Tampa metro and central Florida area to our footprint.”

Chip Reeves, Beach’s CEO, will join First’s executive leadership team with responsibilities for mortgage banking, specialty lending and the central Florida region. Henry Gonzalez, Beach’s Tampa market president, will join First as regional president for Tampa. 

Several other Beach executives will join First. 

The deal is expected to be 2.3% accretive to First’s 2023 earnings per share, and 4.7% accretive the next year. It should take less than two years for First to earn back less than 1% dilution to its tangible book value. 

First plans to cut half of Beach’s annual noninterest expense, or roughly $8.2 million. The company expects to incur $12.3 million of merger-related expenses. 

Hovde Group and Alston & Bird advised First. Piper Sandler and Smith Mackinnon advised Beach.

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