Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sun Bancorp seeks several small or one large acquisition, CEO says

Sun Bancorp (NASDAQ:SNBC), a more than USD 3.4bn asset-size bank based in Vineland, New Jersey, is interested in making several small, or one large, acquisition, said CEO Thomas Geise. 
He said Sun Bancorp, holding company for Sun National Bank, finds central New Jersey markets attractive in which to acquire, due to high demographics, and could look to increase market share within its current footprint, including in Cumberland County and Cape May County markets in the southern part of the state. 
He said Sun is evaluating whether to apply for the federal government’s Troubled Assets Relief Program, under which it could get USD 90m, but is “well positioned” to make acquisitions, including a larger one, without that money. “It is fair to say,” that Sun is in relatively good shape, given the current state of the economy and the financial services market, said Geise. 
Past financial advisors to Sun, whose current market capitalization is nearly USD 230.9m, have included Janney Montgomery Scott, according to regulatory documents. It had been represented by the law firm of Malizia Spidi & Fisch, and its current auditor is Deloitte & Touche, also according to regulatory documents. 
Two industry sources agreed with Geise that Sun was in a relatively good position to make one or more acquisitions, despite its third quarter where bad loans cut into its profit. They noted that Sun appears to have just received proceeds from the sale of its six Delaware branches to WSFS, completed this week, and that Sun could potentially greatly benefit from acquisitions. 
In Cumberland County, a potentially well fitting acquisition of some scale, said the sources, could be Vineland, New Jersey-based Colonial Bank. With more than USD 501.7m in assets and owned by NASDAQ-listed Colonial Bancshares, it has deep roots in the community and could potentially work very well for Sun there, said the sources. 
A larger potentially well fitting acquisition, said the sources, could be Cape Bank, which, with more than USD 1.2bn in assets, is the largest community bank in Cape May and neighboring Atlantic County, where Sun also has a substantial presence. 
For a central New Jersey acquisition in a high demographic area, said the sources, a potentially good fit for Sun could be Oakhurst, New Jersey-based Central Jersey Bank. With more than USD 534.5m in assets and owned by NASDAQ-listed and Long Branch, New Jersey-based Central Jersey Bancorp, it is located in Monmouth County, at or near one of the 50 highest income US counties, according to government figures. The sources said Central Jersey's operations could fit well with Sun’s goals and added that Central Jersey Bancorp too is in relatively good shape. Central Jersey Bancorp had record net income in this year’s third quarter of USD 1.03m, and had net income of USD 2.3m for the first nine moths of this year, according to regulatory filings. Central Jersey Bancorp’s market capitalization is just over USD 58.8m. 
Sun Bancorp reported net income of USD 4.1m in this year’s third quarter, down from USD 5.9m in last year’s third quarter, according to regulatory documents. 
Colonial, Cape, and Central Jersey did not comment. 

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