Enterprise Financial Services Corp. (EFSC) in St. Louis converted $20 million of trust-preferred securities to common stock, a move that will reduce its borrowing costs and improve its capital position.

The $3.1 billion-asset company converted the trust-preferreds to an equal amount of subordinated debt, and then converted that debt into about 1.2 million shares of common stock, it said Thursday.

To facilitate the conversion, the company agreed to issue more than 25,000 additional shares to the holder of the trust-preferreds, EFSC Capital Trust VIII. Those shares are worth $187,000 at the company's Thursday closing price of $17.45 a share.

Enterprise issued $25 million of trust-preferreds to EFSC in December 2008. The company has been paying an annual interest rate of 9% on this debt, of which $5 million remains outstanding.

Enterprise says it expects the conversion to raise its tangible common equity ratio to 7.54% from 6.89%.

"By increasing the equity component of our total capital structure, we gain balance sheet strength and greater flexibility to support the company's growth," said Peter Benoist, Enterprise's president and chief executive, in a press release. "We're pleased to be able to increase common equity in this manner without diluting our shareholders."

Enterprise fully redeemed the preferred shares it issued through the Troubled Asset Relief Program in January.

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