Friday, March 04, 2005

Westamerica completes buyout growing to the No. 7 largest employer in Solano County with nearly 700 workers

Westamerica completes buyout

By Matthew Bunk

FAIRFIELD - Westamerica Bancorp is now a bigger player in the Northern California banking industry.

Westamerica, the No. 7 largest employer in Solano County with nearly 700 workers, has completed an acquisition of Redwood Empire Bancorp, a deal that was announced last August but was approved only recently by shareholders in both bank firms and by the Federal Reserve.

The approvals also allow Westamerica to consolidate branch operations in communities where both Westamerica and Redwood Empire have a presence.

Under the terms of the merger, Redwood Empire investors would get cash and Westamerica stock in exchange for their shares of Redwood. In total, Westamerica will pay $57 million and issue 1.6 million shares of common stock for a buyout valued at $153 million.

Redwood Empire, with six bank offices in Sonoma, Mendocino and Lake counties, reported assets of $511 million.

Westamerica, with $4.7 billion in assets, operates 87 branches and two trust offices in Northern and Central California.

Special Note: Westamerica is a member in good standing or Solano EDC.

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