First Mariner IPO raises $15.6 million Trading begins today on Nasdaq market


First Mariner Bancorp raised $15.6 million in an initial public offering, the company said yesterday.

The Canton-based community bank is expected to begin trading today on the Nasdaq stock market under the symbol FMAR.

"I've been very pleased with the amount of demand," said Edwin F. Hale Sr., chairman of the $115 million-asset banking company.

The company sold 1.4 million shares at $12 each, grossing $16.8 million. Ferris, Baker Watts Inc., the underwriter, will receive $1.2 million of the proceeds.

Hale said the money would go toward making larger loans and making acquisitions.

"We are talking to several banks," he said.

Hale, who owned about 50 percent of the company, now holds a 28 percent stake in First Mariner. He said he may purchase anywhere from 10,000 to 20,000 additional shares on the open market.

"I'm going to sleep on it tonight," he said.

Hale said he didn't offer any of his shares in the initial public offering and didn't have any new shares set aside for him to buy.

"I didn't think it was fair," he said.

Directors and officers invested heavily in the bank, Hale said, but he didn't have the figures.

"These people put in a lot of money," he said.

First Mariner could more than double in size with the $15.6 million in capital. The company, which was formed 20 months ago, operates 12 branches in the Baltimore region. It has grown from $53 million in assets since the beginning of the year.

First Mariner lost $849,000 for the first six months of 1996, which is not unusual for a start-up bank.

"We think First Mariner Bank has tremendous prospects," said Steven L. Shea, senior vice president with Ferris, Baker Watts Inc. "We are happy with the deal."

Shea said there are orders in hand for the stock.

"It is safe to say we will find a home for the full amount of the deal. Hopefully, we will have extra demand."

Pub Date: 12/20/96

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