American bank-holding company Business First Bancshares has signed an agreement to acquire Richland State Bancorp and its wholly owned bank subsidiary, Richland State Bank.

The combined entity would be the fourth largest Louisiana-headquartered bank, with total assets of about $2bn on a pro forma basis as of 31 March 2018.

Established in 1902, Richland State Bank had $305m in total assets, $188.7m in total loans, $270m in total deposits and $32.5m in shareholders’ equity as of 31 March 2018.

The bank manages a total of seven branch offices in northern Louisiana.

Pursuant to the terms of the merger agreement, Richland State’s shareholders will receive cash consideration of approximately $10.6m and 1,679,608 shares in Business First Bancshares stock. The combined transaction is valued at about $50.8m.

Once the deal is closed, Richland State president and CEO Jerome Vascocu will join Business First and Business First Bank board of directors and serve as chairman of Business First Bank’s Northeast Louisiana region.

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Business First president and CEO Jude Melville said: “Our team remains focused on our goal of becoming the region’s most influential business-focused community bank.

“This merger, in combination with our recent MBL Bank partnership in Minden, Louisiana, expands our presence along the I-20 corridor and provides diversification and balance to our business mix.”

Subject to customary closing conditions, the transaction is slated to conclude during the fourth quarter of this year.