United Community Banks Inc. in Blairsville, Ga., is emerging from its credit woes with plans announced late Wednesday to raise $380 million.
The $7.4 billion-asset company said an affiliate of the private-equity firm Corsair Capital LLC in New York and institutional investors have agreed to buy common stock and convertible preferred shares at $1.90 a share. The funds will help the company recapitalize its bank, which is under a memorandum of understanding, and clear $435 million in problem loans and foreclosures in the next two quarters.
Though not the first capital raise by United Community since the recession began, analysts said this one puts the company back on offense for the first time in years.
The company "finally struck a capital deal, which massively corrects credit issues … and positions it for future success" either on its own or by selling, Chris Marinac, an analyst at FIG Partners LLC, wrote in a note to clients.
This is the first bank deal for Corsair since investing in East West Bancorp in 2009. Corsair led a $7 billion investment in National City Corp. at $5 a share in April 2008. Nat City eventually sold to PNC Financial Services Group Inc. at $2.23 a share. Corsair did not lose money because its agreement had a "make-whole" provision.
With Nat City and East West "we anticipated a third party buying the distressed assets but that had not happened," said Richard Thornburg, Corsair's vice chairman, in an interview Thursday. He said they have been looking at other deals since East West but it was only in the last six months that they became more comfortable with loan discounts.
The raise should increase the company's Tier 1 leverage ratio, to 8.6%, from 6.7% at Dec. 31. Regulators required the bank to reach 8%. United Community's plans to sell foreclosed properties and substandard and nonperforming loans will drop nonperforming assets to 1.1% of total assets, compared with 4.3% at yearend.
United Community faces about $150 million in after-tax charges This deal indicates "that there is capital available for viable institutions that have good footprints like UCBI," Jeff Davis, an analyst at Guggenheim Securities LLC, said.
The company did not address repaying the $180 million in funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program.