News Column

ServisFirst closes IPO as stock drops

May 19, 2014

By Brad Harper, Montgomery Advertiser, Ala.



May 19--Birmingham-based ServisFirst Bank started its first full week as a publicly traded company Monday by closing its Initial Public Offering and watching its stock price dip below $81 for the first time on the Nasdaq.

It's been a whirlwind six days for ServisFirst Bancshares, the holding company for the Alabama, Florida and Tennessee bank.

It went public Wednesday, offering 625,000 shares of common stock at $91 per share. After expenses, that netted $52.5 million for the company, ServisFirst said Monday.

Chief Financial Officer Bud Foshee said the extra capital will allow the bank to expand to more regions if the right opportunity comes along. Until now, he said the company has been "a little less aggressive" about that kind of expansion.

Foshee said he wasn't discouraged by the stock's price, which was down more than 10 percent since Wednesday.

"If we start focusing on our stock price, we're not going to do what we should be doing," Foshee said.

The company posted a 24.7 percent year-over-year increase in earnings in the first quarter, an arc of rapid growth that has continued since the bank was formed in 2005.

"If (investors) just picked up the story, they wonder if you can continue that growth," Foshee said.

The Montgomery operations started in 2007. Carl Barker, CEO of ServisFirst in Montgomery, said the bank initially raised $13 million in initial capital here and "could have raised a lot more" if it wanted.

Now that the bank is taking a more aggressive approach, Foshee has been trying to convince investors that it can maintain momentum. He recently returned from meetings in New York City, Boston, San Francisco and Chicago.

"You've got to give the same presentation with the same enthusiasm with everyone you meet because everyone's a potential investor, and not just now but in the future," he said.

Both Foshee and Barker said the public offering wouldn't affect local customers in any way.

ServisFirst Bancshares trade under the symbol "SFBS."

Read or Share this story: http://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com/story/money/business/2014/05/19/servisfirst-closes-ipo-stock-drops/9298011/

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(c)2014 the Montgomery Advertiser (Montgomery, Ala.)

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Source: Montgomery Advertiser (AL)


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