Investar Bank plans IPO

Investar Holding Corp., the parent company for Baton Rouge-based Investar Bank, filed plans Friday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering of stock.

The community bank has filed to be listed on the Nasdaq Global Market under the ticker symbol ISTR.

In September 2013, Investar announced it was considering becoming a publicly traded company and that shareholders would vote on the IPO offering on Halloween.

Investar had total assets of $674 million as of March 31 and 10 branches: two each in Baton Rouge and Mandeville, and one each in Metairie, Lafayette, Prairieville, Port Allen, Denham Springs and Hammond. Investar has about 140 employees at its branches.

The bank was founded in June 2006 with an initial capitalization of $10.1 million from local investors.

The bank has grown through aggressive expansions. In 2011, Investar bought South Louisiana Business Bank in Prairieville, a move that put it in Ascension Parish. In December 2012, it entered the New Orleans market by purchasing two closed branch locations of another bank. In 2013, Investar purchased First Community Bank in Hammond, which also increased its presence in the New Orleans area, and entered the Lafayette market last year by opening a branch.

Investar’s filing with the SEC says net proceeds form the IPO will be used primarily to support growth in loans and deposits, bolster its capital to permit future acquisitions and for other general working capital and corporate purposes.

Its immediate plans include opening three new branches in Baton Rouge over the next two years, with expectations of opening one in the third quarter.

Investar said it has no plan for any specific acquisitions.

The company said its plans to focus on growth and expansion opportunities in its southern Louisiana markets. It would not rule out an expansion into new markets with an attractive acquisition opportunity.

Investar said it would target acquisitions to financial institutions with less than $500 million in assets.