acquisitions this week - Compass in Florida and Texas, and Centura in the western part of its home state, North Carolina. Compass, based in Birmingham, Ala., signed a letter of intent to acquire CFB Bancorp of Jacksonville, Fla., and a definitive agreement to buy Peoples Bancshares of Belton, Tex. In the larger of the two deals, Compass agreed to pay $43 million in stock for CFB, which has $310 million of assets and 10 offices - eight in the Jacksonville area and two in Spring Hill. The price is equal to 210% of CFB's stated book value, or 16 times its estimated 1995 earnings. Compass' chief financial officer, Garrett R. Hegel, said cost savings in the deal would be minor, since CFB's Jacksonville branches do not overlap with the 17 that Compass already operates in the area. He said the purchase would be "pretty neutral" to Compass' 1996 earnings, then add to them in the second year. Compass also announced the cash purchase, for an undisclosed sum, of Peoples Bancshares, which has $135 million of assets and three branches north of Austin - in Belton, Temple, and Salado. Mr. Hegel said Compass preferred to keep the purchase price under wraps for the time being because of competitive pressures. "We're in a number of negotiations down there, and everybody wants a little more than the last guy," Mr. Hegel said. Centura, based in Rocky Mount, N.C., agreed to buy First Commercial Holding Corp. of Asheville, N.C., for $52.4 million in stock. The price represents 285% of First Commercial's stated book value and 18 times its estimated 1995 earnings. Controller Michael R. Hilton said Centura plans to cut First Commercial's $5.5 million annual cost structure by 27%, or $1.5 million, to make the deal nondilutive to its own shareholders. Three of First Commercial's eight branches overlap with Centura's own and will be consolidated, he said. Two of First Commercial's offices are in Asheville; the rest are in Hendersonville, Arden, Spruce Pine, Bakersville, Burnsville, and Weaversville. First Commercial has $175 million of assets. Compass has $10 billion of assets and Centura $5.1 billion.
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