ROCKY MOUNT, N. C. -- Centura Banks Inc., Rocky Mount, N.C., reached an agreement to acquire Asheboro-based First Southern Bancorp for $56.7 million, or 1.22 times First Southern's stated book value. The acquisition of First Southern, which has $319 million of assets and nine offices, will be Centura's largest since the company was formed in 1990 by the merger of two banks in Rocky Mount.

The deal will give Centura the No. 1 deposit market share in Randolph County, which is just south of Greensboro in the Piedmont-Triad area, and a strong presence in Hendersonville, a fastgrowing area near Asheboro.

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