Regions Financial Corp. has signed a letter of intent to acquire First State Corp. of Albany, Ga.

Regions said Friday it would pay about $161 million-or roughly 3.1 times book value-for $540 million-asset First State, in one of six deals it has pending.

The latest acquisition would give Regions about $462 million of deposits and 14 offices in southern Georgia, where its presence is limited, as well as a mortgage bank.

Regions already controls $4.4 billion of assets in Georgia, but the bulk of the operations are concentrated in the northern part of the state.

Based on Regions' closing stock price of $41.75 on Dec. 11, the transaction would be valued at approximately $161 million.

The merger, which will be accounted for as a pooling of interests, is expected to be completed during the first half of 1998.

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