Albany-based company will offer stock

ALBANY, Ga. -- Depositors and shareholders are receiving information in the mail from Heritage Financial Group Inc. offering up to 8.2 million shares of common stock that will take the Albany-based banking company to 100 percent publicly owned.

The move will generate between $61.2 million and $95.2 million for Heritage Financial.

The funds likely will be used to expand the company, which has been in an acquisition mode recently, expanding its business footprint from Albany to Statesboro to Ocala, Fla. Heritage now has 17 banking locations.

The move converts Heritage MHC (Mutual Holding Company) and HeritageBank of the South from a mutual holding company to a stock holding organization. The shares being offered represent the 76 percent ownership interest in Heritage Financial Group now owned by Heritage MHC and HeritageBank of the South. Heritage MHC will cease to exist after the stock offering.

The minimum order is 25 shares. The stock is being offered at $10 a share. Bank officials, who would not comment on specifics of the offering, expect about 40 percent of the shares to be purchased by depositors and other investors in the community.

The remaining 60 percent is expected to be sold to mutual fund companies and other professional investors.

While financial stocks have struggled in the past couple of years, financial consultants indicate there is a market for healthy banks raising capital to expand.

Heritage officials expect the offering to the community to close Nov. 16. Anyone interested can call (229) 420-0000 for specifics on the stock sale. The overall offering is expected to end Nov. 23.