Private-equity groups and other have investors have committed roughly $515 million to recapitalize the ailing First BanCorp in San Juan, P.R., setting the stage for the $15 billion-asset company to convert its preferred stock owned by the Treasury Department into common stock.
The company received $424 million from the Treasury under the Troubled Asset Relief Program and has said that it would need to raise between $500 million and $550 million of private capital to be eligible to convert the preferred shares into common stock.
It struck its first deal in late May when it said that Thomas H. Lee Partners LP of Boston had agreed to pay $180 million to acquire a 24.9% stake in the company, and this week it announced that other investors have committed another $339.5 million. Nearly $176 million of that will come from Oaktree Capital Management LP of Los Angeles, while the rest would come from various institutional investors and private-equity groups.
In a news release Tuesday, First BanCorp President and Chief Executive Officer Aurelio Aleman said that investments would substantially strengthen First BanCorp's capital ratios. Under a May 2010 enforcement action, the company must boost its Tier 1 leverage ratio to 8% and its total risk-based capital ratio to 12%. At March 31, those ratios were 7.6% and 11.97%.