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Bank raises $20M through private stock placement

HATTIESBURG — The First Bancshares Inc., the parent company of The First, A National Banking Association, has completed a private placement of Series D Nonvoting Convertible Preferred Stock, $1 par value.

The First raised $20 million in new capital through a private placement of 1,951,220 shares of its Series D nonvoting convertible preferred stock at a price of $10.25 per share, according to a news release.

The preferred stock will automatically convert into shares of common stock at a ratio of one share of common stock for each share of preferred stock owned within three business days following the company’s receipt of shareholder approval. The shareholders’ meeting at which this approval is to be solicited is currently scheduled for May 23, 2013.

M. Ray “Hoppy” Cole, president and CEO of The First, said, “We are pleased with the response to our capital raise. The offering was oversubscribed and was a vote of confidence by the investment community showing strong support for our company and its strategic plan. This new capital will allow the company to continue to grow organically and will support the capital needs of the potential acquisition of First National Bank of Baldwin County (Ala.).”

The company intends to use the net proceeds from this offering to increase its equity capital and for general corporate purposes, which may include, among other things, support for organic and acquisition-based growth. As of Dec. 31, 2012, the company had assets of $721.4 million and was “well capitalized” by regulatory standards.

The First engaged the investment banking firm of FIG Partners, LLC to act as its sole placement agent to assist with the offering and the law firm of Jones Walker LLP acted as legal counsel.

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