Expanding its leasing business, Southern National Corp. has bought Medstar Leasing Co. of Asheville, N.C., which leases medical equipment to doctors, clinics, and hospitals.

Terms of the deal, which was completed last week, were not disclosed.

Medstar, with about $10 million in receivables, will become part of Southern National's BB&T Leasing Corp., which operates eight offices in the Carolinas and has $400 million of receivables. BB&T Leasing purchased Medstar from St. Joseph's Hospital in Asheville.

BB&T Leasing executive vice president Bill Campbell said the acquisition will expand the company's breadth of offerings to include smaller ticket items, such as computers, phone systems, copiers, and fax machines. Currently, BB&T Leasing is a general purpose lessor, focusing on big-ticket items like automobiles and industrial machinery.

"We will diversify the nature of our portfolio by asset type - get into office products," Mr. Campbell said. "This is something we have been in before, but have not had a focus there for some years."

BB&T Leasing will retain Medstar's three employees and continue to operate the company from its Asheville location.

Analysts viewed the deal as another example of Southern National's effort to diversify its earnings stream. "What they've been trying to do is enter more businesses that are potentially nationwide in their customer base," said Merrill Ross, with Wheat First Butcher Singer in Richmond.

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