West Coast Bancorp in Oregon plans to buy its second Washington State bank in a stock deal valued at $47.2 million.
Lake Oswego-based West Coast said it hopes buying Centennial Holdings Inc., Olympia, Wash., will lead to other acquisitions near that state's capital. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter.
Victor L. Bartruff, West Coast president and chief executive officer, said Washington's 100 community banks present acquisition opportunities for his $809 million-asset company. Oregon has 40 banks with less than $1 billion of assets. "Having a significant presence there will let other bankers know about us and attract others to join us," Mr. Bartruff said. "That area is especially vibrant."
West Coast entered Washington last year with its acquisition of two- branch Bank of Vancouver. The bank is now one of West Coast's five subsidiary community banks.
Acquiring Centennial Holdings, parent of Centennial Bank, would give West Coast an eight-branch community bank with $260 million of assets. Centennial would operate as a subsidiary of West Coast and retain its name and board of directors.
"We were in good shape and could have continued on our own, but we felt there would be more opportunity for growth as part of a larger institution," said Thomas W. Healy, Centennial chairman and chief executive.
R. Jay Tejera, an analyst at Dain Bosworth Inc., said the deal announcement led him to increase his 1998 earnings estimate for West Coast by a nickel, to $2.05 a share.
Mr. Tejera said West Coast's acquisitions have been successful because the company focuses on retaining customers and increasing revenue rather than cutting costs. "Very little changes when they do a deal," he said.