Northfield Bancorp (NFBK), a mutual holding company in Avenel, N.J., is taking the final step in its conversion to a fully public company.

The $2.4 billion-asset parent company of Northfield Bank said Monday it has begun an offering of common stock in a new public company that represents the mutual holding company's 61.1% ownership stake in Northfield Bancorp.

In a news release, Northfield said it is looking to sell at between 31 million and 41.9 million shares at $10 each.

Upon completion of the offering, Northfield's existing stockholders will have their shares exchanged for shares of common stock in the new company at a ratio of between 1.22 and 1.65 shares for each share of Northfield's common stock they currently own.

The company said it would determine the exact exchange ratio before the end of the offering, which is expected to conclude on Dec. 17. Following the conversion, all of the capital stock of Northfield Bank will be owned by public.

Northfield announced the second-step conversion in June after postponing it in 2010 due to weak demand for bank and thrift stocks. Northfield said in a news release that a changing regulatory environment and new restrictions on mutual holding companies persuaded the company's board to proceed with the conversion.

Sandler O'Neill & Partners is assisting Northfield in the marketing of the public offering.

Shares of Northfield rose 41 cents, at $14.60, in trading Monday.

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