Investar sees active first day of trading

Shares of Investar Holding, the parent company of Investar Bank, launched Tuesday at $14 per share and quickly spiked to $14.53 per share before settling lower and closing at $14.20.

Close to 787,000 shares changed hands.

The company originally announced plans to offer 2.9 million shares at $15 to $17. At that price, Investar Holding’s market value would have been between $43.1 million and $48.9 million. At $14 per share, the company’s market value is $40.3 million.

Investar, a small community bank whose branches are concentrated in south Louisiana, is the type of initial public offering that appeals to a limited group of investors, according to Kathleen Smith, principal of IPO ETF manager Renaissance Capital.

“Recent regional bank IPOs have not traded well, and Investar was priced at an attractive discount — close to book value — to ensure that trading post-IPO was positive,” Smith said.

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 170 employees at its branches.

The bank is currently building a branch on Highland Road, in front of Alexander’s Highland Market. Last month, Investar bought land for a branch at the intersection of Airline Highway and Commerce Centre Drive in Prairieville. A second Lafayette branch, at 1510 Kaliste Saloom Road near River Ranch, is also in the works.

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