MIAMI - Pointing to strong growth and savvy management, analysts see an upstart in Intercontinental Bank.
The Miami-based bank's stock bumped up $1.50 to $20 a share in the past two weeks, apparently due to a positive analyst report.
"It was undervalued in our view," said John W. Coffey, a bank analyst with Robinson-Humphrey Co., Atlanta, who recommends the stock as a long-term buy.
"We think companies that have a competitive advantage are going to grow where growth has been difficult."
Double-Digit Earnings Seen
The stock may also have benefited from the Florida Supreme Court decision to leave intact an appeals court ruling that overturned a $12 million lender liability suit against the bank.
Intercontinental, which has $949.8 million of assets, earned $2.5 million in the third quarter, up 28% from the year-earlier period. Third-quarter loans grew 8.5% from the year earlier, to $418.5 million.
"I see double-digit earnings growth for at least the near term," Mr. Coffey said. "These guys are gaining market share at the expense of their competitors. They continue to get loan growth on the commercial side."
Mr. Coffey, who began following the bank this past summer, likes Intercontinental because, he says:
* It has a seasoned management team that knows the market.
* It makes loans to small and mid-sized businesses - a niche the large regionals in the state ignore.
* It has made four acquisitions in the past 18 months with $155 million of assets.
Merger on the Table
In July, Intercontinental entered into merger talks with Commercial Trust Bancorp Inc., a Miami bank with $117 million in assets.
The merger is valued at $12.6 million and is expected to close in December. Shareholders from both banks will meet this month to vote on the deal.
Intercontinental directors, officers, and stockholders holding 33% of the common stock favor it, as do Commercial shareholders who own 71% of the bank's stock.
The merger is also being supported by Michael Weintraub, who shares voting power over 100% of Intercontinental's series A preferred stock and about 14.75% of the bank's common stock.
Scanning for Candidates
Mr. Weintraub is a director of NationsBank Corp. and holds 795,753 shares of the Charlotte, N.C.-based bank's stock, according to public filings.
"Our game plan is to build it [the bank] up," said William L. Morrison, president of Intercontinental.
"We are actively seeking other acquisition candidates in South Florida."
Progress in Asset Quality
Intercontinental's board is made up of a number of powerful Miami businessmen who include Phillip Frost, chairman and chief executive of IVAX Corp., a Miami-based pharmaceutical company, and Stanley G. Tate, a real estate developer who is being considered by the Clinton administration to run the Resolution Trust Corp.
Management inherited nonperforming commercial real estate loans and credits to lesser developed countries that totaled $46.7 million in 1988. In 1992, nonperformers were reduced to $18.8 million.
"Compared to several years ago, they have made real progress in asset quality," said Steven W. Carson, president of Carson Medlin Co., a Tampa-based investment banking firm. "They are really building a nice franchise."