them are trading below what they would be worth if the company were broken up and sold in pieces.
That is the conclusion reached by Thomas R. Hain, a thrift analyst at Lehman Brothers & Co. He said if some thrifts were stripped of everything except their deposits, their liquidation value would be higher than their current market values.
Rising interest rates and a slowdown in mergers and acquisitions have brought thrift stocks to compelling lows, according to Michael Hodes of Goldman, Sachs & Co. and other analysts.
Thrift stocks are also down because "momentum investors, who drove thrift stocks to all-time highs in 1997, have moved onto greener pastures,'' said Mr. Hain.
Mr. Hain separated each company's deposits into core deposits and noncore deposits. He then estimated that a generous acquirer would be willing to pay a premium of 15% for core deposits and 8% for noncore deposits. He added the two amounts to obtain a value for the company's total deposits.
He then added to that the value of the thrift's tangible equity -- common equity minus goodwill -- and divided the sum by fully diluted shares. Upside potential was the difference between the liquidation value and the closing stock price of the company on Aug. 5, when Mr. Hain completed his analysis.
"Thrifts stocks are in a kind of limbo,'' said Mr. Hain. "There is a lot of value, but the stocks will not move unless there is some kind of catalyst. And there do not seem to be many catalysts on the horizon for the moment.''
On the basis of this analysis, some of the larger thrifts with deposits worth more than the price of their stock are:
Wyomissing, Pa.-based Sover-eign Bancorp. Deposits were valued at $13.24 a share, while its stock trades around $12.
Oakland, Calif.-based Golden West Financial Corp. Deposits were valued at $105.63, but it is trading around $96.38.
San Francisco-based Golden State Bancorp. Deposits were valued at $23.33, with its stock trading at $21.44.
Many smaller thrifts are facing the same problem. The deposits of $2.6 billion-asset New York-based Haven Bancorp are worth $36.93, according to Mr. Hain, but its shares trade around $15.56.
The $5.5 billion-asset San Mateo, Calif.-based Bay View Capital Corp.'s deposits are worth $34.09, but its stock trades at $18.94. And Santa Monica, Calif.-based FirstFed Financial Corp.'s deposits are worth $22.08, but its stock trades at $15.50.
According to Mr. Hain, Haven has an upside potential of 137%; Bay View 80%; and FirstFed 42%.
The shares of Haven, Bay View, and FirstFed are down because the companies are either expanding or integrating new projects which have either dragged the earnings or frightened investors, Mr. Hain added.
Though the financial perform- ance of Sovereign Bancorp has been strong, it has been trading at a discount to banks and many large thrifts, said Edward Narjarian, an analyst at Wheat First Union.
"There is fairly wide speculation that Sovereign will potentially acquire a large portion of deposits being divested from the Fleet-BankBoston merger,'' Mr. Narjarian said. "If they are successful, that purchase could dilute near-term earnings, and reduce and restrain the share-repurchase initiative that the company is currently conducting."
"Sovereign is an acquisition-oriented company," Mr. Narjarian said. "I think they are interested in bidding on those deposits.''