Shares of NationsBank Corp. surged Wednesday as investors applauded the company's plan to buy $2 billion of consumer's finance assets from a Chrysler Corp. subsidiary.
NationsBank's shares closed at $50, up $1.125, on volume of nearly 1.4 million shares, twice its average daily volume.
NationsBank announced after the close of trading Tuesday that it would pay a $100 million premium over book value for the bulk of the consumer assets of the unit, Chrysler First Inc.
Pumping Up the Loan Base
"We like the deal," said Diane Glossman, a bank stock analyst at Salomon Brothers. "This looks like a viable way to pump up their loan base."
The acquisition would provide a way for NationsBank to replace a portion of its relatively low-yielding portfolio of investment securities with the higher yielding consumer assets.
In a conference call with analysts before the start of trading Wednesday, NationsBank official said the deal would boost 1993 earnings by $25 million, or 10 cents a share, even though the deal is not expected to be completed until early to mid-year.
While other bank stocks were also strong Wednesday, NationsBank's share price rose immediately and remained strong throughout the trading day.
Revising Earnings Estimates
Some analysts said they want to run the numbers for themselves before changing their earnings estimates, but others took immediate action.
Ms. Glossman at Salomon Brothers said she was boosting her 1993 earnings estimate to $4.35 a share, from $4.25.
As part of the deal, Chrysler agreed to establish a $200 million reserve against future credit losses in the consumer finance portfolio. Analysts said the reserve appears to provide sufficient credit protection.
Like a lot of banks, NationsBank has ample liquidity but few ways to deploy it because o the weak economy and sluggish loan demand. As a result, the as set side of the bank's balance sheet has been built up with vast portfolio of investment securities, including government bonds.
At the end of the third quarter the Charlotte, N.C.-based superegional held $23.8 billion of investment securities, mainly U.S Treasuries and government agency-backed securities.
The total purchase price will be between $2.1 billion and $2. billion, a NationsBank official said Wednesday.
Financing the Purchase
NationsBank plans to raise roughly $1 billion in medium-and short-term debt to help finance the purchase. Part of the financing is also expected to come from the sale of investment securities or from securities that will soon mature.
NationsBank eventually wants consumer loans to account for 50% of total loans. The Chrysler deal will bring consumer loans to about 41% of loans, from about 38%, said Nancy Bush, regional bank stock analyst at Brown Brothers Harriman & Co.
Bank stocks were mostly higher Wednesday, amid an overall rise in equity prices.
The Dow Jones industrial average finished at 3207.37, up 14.05 points.
Among the biggest gainers in the banking sector, Wells Fargo & Co. closed at $74, up $2.125; First Interstate rose $1, to $41.375; and National City Corp. closed at $46.50, for a gain of $1.
Citicorp rose 25 cents, to $18.125. Kidder, Peabody & Co. analyst Thaddeus Paluszek upgraded the stock to a hold. He had rated Citi an under-performer.
Meanwhile, S.G. Warburg & Co. analyst Frank Suozzo recommended that investors swap out of Barnett Banks into First Union Corp.
First Union closed at $38.375, up $1.25. Barnett slipped 12.5 cents, to close at $42.50.