Peoples BancTrust: Shareholders discuss bank’s future

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Staff Report

Several major shareholders of Peoples BancTrust have announced intentions to have discussions with key representatives regarding the future of the bank.

Richard Plant Morthland, former CEO of the company along with Ann Plant Morthland, Mary Ann Morthland Patterson, Martin Plant Morthland, William Plant Morthland, William Marshall Patterson, III, and Ann Patterson Powell, in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, said they will talk with large shareholders of the bank regarding the bank’s future.

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According to the filing, the reporting persons, especially Richard Plant Morthland, Ann Plant Morthland and Mary Ann Morthland Patterson “…expect to consider and evaluate on an on-going basis all of their options with respect to their investment in the Issuer (Peoples Bank Trust). Among other alternatives, the Reporting Persons may seek to encourage the Issuer and its representatives to take actions which the Reporting Persons believe are in the best interests of all shareholders. These actions include, but are not limited to, a sale, merger, change of control or other fundamental transaction or a change in one or more of members of the board of directors involving the Issuer.”

According to a

filing Morthland and family members own more than 24 percent of Peoples BancTrust stock.

In a separate filing with the SEC, New York-based Endurance Capital Partners LP said it plans to talk with Richard Morthland. Bloomberg News reports Endurance Capital owns about 10 percent of the bank’s stock.

Recently, Peoples BancTrust Company Inc., announced it had retained Sandler O’Neill + Partners, L.P. as a financial advisor in connection with the evaluation of its strategic alternatives.

“Our core business is advising financial companies as to strategies and potential transactions,” said Michael Lacovara, chief operations officer for Sandler O’Neill + Partners. “We were retained to help the board of directors evaluate strategic alternatives for the bank.”

The Peoples BancTrust Company Inc., is the parent company of Peoples Bank and Trust Company, which has 23 locations in 10 Alabama counties.

The company, which was incorporated in 1902, and is headquartered in Selma, has 278 full-time employees.

Calls to members of the Morthland family listed in the SEC filing were not returned as of press time.