Carolina Financial, the holding company of CresCom Bank, has agreed to acquire Carolina Trust BancShares, the parent company of Carolina Trust Bank (collectively called as Carolina Trust), for about $100.1m (£80m).

Carolina Financial

Image: CresCom Bank’s parent company to acquire Carolina Trust BancShares. Gerd Altmann/Pixabay.

As part of the agreement, shareholders of Carolina Trust will receive 0.3000 shares of Carolina Financial or $10.57 (£8.46) in cash for each share of Carolina Trust.

Based in Lincolnton, North Carolina, Carolina Trust operates 11 banking locations and a loan production office in the Charlotte – Concord – Gastonia, NC-SC metropolitan statistical area.

Carolina Trust reported assets of $621m (£496.8m), gross loans of $474m (£379m), and deposits of $523m (£418.4m) as of 31 March 2019.

Once the deal is closed, the combined entity will have more than $4.5bn (£3.6bn) in assets, $3.1bn (£2.48bn) in loans and $3.3bn (£2.64bn) in deposits.

Carolina Financial CEO Jerry Rexroad said: “This transaction allows for Carolina Financial to deepen its market presence in North Carolina. Carolina Trust represents the best opportunity for Carolina Financial to expand our footprint in these markets and the merger will allow us to execute on many of our publicly stated goals.

“We welcome the Team Members at Carolina Trust to our organization. This partnership is an excellent opportunity to create value for both institutions.”

The merger agreement was unanimously approved by the boards of directors of the two companies.

Subject customary closing conditions, including regulatory approval and Carolina Trust shareholder approval, the deal is expected to be closed in the first quarter of next year.

Carolina Trust’s current chairman of the board Johnathan Rhyne will be appointed to the Carolina Financial and CresCom Bank boards of directors.

Furthermore, Carolina Trust president and CEO Jerry Ocheltree will be named as president of CresCom Bank’s North Carolina Commercial Banking Operations.

Ocheltree said: “We are excited about partnering with a high-performing company that shares our community banking culture and values like Carolina Financial.

“We find the strategic fit of the two organizations compelling, especially for our customers that will benefit from the broader array of products and services.”

“We will leverage the new resources and products available to us through CresCom Bank and are attracted to the opportunity to operate in our current markets with a significantly larger scale.”

Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough provided legal counsel to Carolina Financial on the transaction, while Sandler O’Neill & Partners acted as financial advisor.

Wyrick Robbins Yates & Ponton acted as legal counsel to Carolina Trust on the transaction, while Raymond James served as financial advisor.