Home BancShares Acquires Shore Premier Finance

Home BancShares Acquires Shore Premier Finance
(Home BancShares)

Home BancShares Inc. of Conway is getting into the boat financing business.

The publicly traded parent company of Centennial Bank (Nasdaq: HOMB) said Monday that it had acquired Shore Premier Finance, a division of Union Bank & Trust of Richmond, Virginia, in a deal that includes $374.5 million in cash and 1.25 million shares of Home BancShares stock.

Shore Premier Finance provides direct consumer financing to U.S. Coast Guard-registered high-end sail and power boats. The company also provides inventory floor plan lines of credit to marine dealers. The company has about $384.2 million in total assets, including $383.4 million in total loans.

"We're always looking at acquisition opportunities to provide the strongest risk adjusted return for our investors," Home BancShares Chairman Johnny Allison said in a news release. "The Shore Premier Finance team has built a solid foundation in the marine finance space and we look forward to providing them the opportunity and resources to further develop that brand."

Union Bank's parent company, Union Bankshares Inc., acquired Shore Premier in its $701 million acquisition of Xenith Bankshares Inc. of Richmond, Virginia, originally announced in May. John C. Asbury, president and CEO of Union Bankshares, said selling the unit "better enables Union to focus on our core businesses and execute our strategic priorities."

The deal also means Home BancShares will set up a new loan production office, in Chesapeake, Virginia. The company expects to open it this month.

"This marine loan portfolio provides both geographic and collateral-type diversification for the Company," said Tracy French, Centennial Bank's CEO. "We envision this being the foundation of a meaningful presence in the marine financing market for Home."