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Evans Bancorp mulls stock sale

Evans Bancorp said that it may issue up to $60 million in stock, debt, or other securities for investors over the next three years in its first effort to raise capital in six years.

The Hamburg-based parent of Evans Bank filed a "shelf registration" statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday, indicating its intent to sell securities to the public.

Once the SEC declares it effective, the bank can raise capital as it needs by selling debt securities, common stock, warrants to buy shares, purchase contracts, or trust preferred securities. Additional details of any such offering will be determined and filed at the time of any sale.

"This just gives us the flexibility to do any of those things," said Chief Financial Officer Gary Kajtoch. "It doesn't mean we're going to do it."

This is the first time Evans has filed a "shelf registration," which allows a company to file one document to register multiple types of securities at once instead of submitting separate documents for each.

Such a registration document is good for three years, but under SEC rules, a company can sell only up to one-third of its outstanding "float" in any 12-month period, so Evans would be limited to $10 million to $11 million in the first 12 months.

If the bank proceeds with an offering of any kind, it will be its first capital-raise since October 2004, when it sold $11 million in trust-preferred securities. The bank currently has just shy of $46 million in capital, and is already considered "well-capitalized."

However, it posted record growth in both deposits and loans last year, while acquiring the failed Waterford Village Bank in Clarence, and executives have stated aspirations to grow to $1 billion in assets. Evans has $619 million in assets and $500 million in deposits, with 13 branches and 14 insurance offices in Western New York, as well as a brokerage division.

"We have been growing organically and this could increase our flexibility to do either organic growth or acquisitions," Kajtoch said.

e-mail: jepstein@buffnews.com

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