Magazine article American Banker

Carolina First to Issue $20 Million of Preferred

Magazine article American Banker

Carolina First to Issue $20 Million of Preferred

Article excerpt

Fast-growing Carolina First Corp. is testing the bear market with a public offering to raise as much as $20 million.

The Greenville, S.C.-based bank and thrift holding company said it will issue 800,000 shares of noncumulative convertible preferred at $25 a share.

J.C. Bradford & Co., and Fox-Pitt, Kelton Inc. are underwriting the offering, according to a preliminary prospectus issued by the $816.4 million-asset banking company.

Uncertain Reception

It is unclear how the market will receive the offering, especially since investors have been bailing out of the market.

"It's going to be a tough sell with [the runoff in] financial stocks and the interest rate scare," said a bank analyst who did not want to be identified. "But Carolina First is in a good market and they have shown good growth. They are gradually getting this thing up to speed."

Mack I. Whittle Jr., president and chief executive of Carolina First, said, "We think this is the right time and the right instrument. We think this is a vehicle the market will come to."

Mr. Whittle who held meetings with investors in New York this week, said the deal will be priced within the next day or two, and the funds could be raised within two weeks. He expects European investors to acquire 15 to 20% of the shares.

The preferred shares will be senior to the common stock and subordinate to two 1993 issues of preferred stock. Dividends will be payable quarterly, but a rate has not yet been set. …

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