Richmond County Financial Corp. of Staten Island, N.Y., is poised to burst into New Jersey with back-to-back deals valued at more than $200 million in stock.
On Friday, Richmond County Financial said it would buy Ironbound Bancorp, Newark, in a stock swap valued at $26.5 million. Then on Monday the $1.6 billion-asset thrift said it would buy Bayonne (N.J.) Bancshares in a $173 million stock deal.
"We've always coveted the New Jersey market," said Michael F. Manzulli, chairman and chief executive officer of Richmond County Financial. "In a short period of time we've accomplished a vision created five years ago."
The parent of Richmond County Savings Bank is quickly putting some of its excess capital to use. In February the 112-year-old thrift completed a mutual-to-stock conversion in which it raised $238 million.
The deals would boost Richmond County Financial's assets to $2.4 billion. The company would operate 20 branches-all within a 10-mile radius- in Staten Island, Brooklyn and New Jersey's Bayonne, Newark, and Elizabeth, where Ironbound also has a branch.
The Bayonne Bancshares deal would give the buyer a strong core deposit base in the Garden State. Bayonne Bancshares, the $646.1 million-asset parent of First Savings Bank of New Jersey, holds about 40% of the deposits in headquarters city.
And Ironbound-parent of $113 million-asset Ironbound Bank-would bring experience in commercial banking to Richmond County Financial, which got into that business last year.
The buyer said it expects the transactions to boost per-share earnings 1% to 2% by next June and 3% to 5% by June 2000. Cost savings of $5.8 million are expected.
Analysts said the deals were fairly priced-1.75 times book value for Bayonne and 2.35 times book for Ironbound. They also said they would not be surprised if Richmond County Financial announced an additional acquisition before the end of the year.
"It's pretty impressive to see a company that's only been publicly traded for five months to pull off two acquisitions like this," said Martin Friedman, an analyst at Arlington, Va.-based Friedman, Billings, Ramsey & Co. "This gives them an important presence in New Jersey."
Bayonne and Ironbound would become operating subsidiaries of Richmond County Financial and might keep their names.
Both tax-free deals, to be accounted for as poolings of interest, are expected to close in the first quarter.