TSFG suitor to issue $250 million in stock

Toronto-Dominion Bank, which announced plans last month to acquire Greenville-based South Financial Group, will issue approximately $250 million worth of common stock prior to closing its deal for TSFG, according to information filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission Thursday.

TD Bank Financial Group will issue 3,525,000 shares at $71 apiece, with net proceeds to be used for general corporate purposes, the company said.

After more than two years of hemorrhaging red ink, The South Financial Group announced on May 17 that it would be acquired by TD Bank Financial Group for a paltry 28 cents a share.

Under the agreement, TD, parent of the Toronto-Dominion Bank, will acquire all outstanding shares of common stock of TSFG, for about $61 million in cash or stock, which represented less than half of TSFG’s market value at the time.

TD said it would pay another $130.6 million in cash to the United States Treasury to buy $347 million of South Financial preferred stock.

TSFG has lost nearly $1.4 billion over the past two-plus years, including $85.8 million during the first three months of 2010.


TDBK to cut back in bid to boost bottom line

Tidelands Bancshares announced Thursday it sell off a majority of investment portfolio and reduce its “non-core funding,” including brokered deposits, repurchase agreements and borrowings.

The moves will result in a dramatic reduction in the company’s assets and deposits.

The board of directors determined that the implementation of this capital and regulatory risk plan was the best course of action to preserve and enhance long-term shareholder value, Tidelands said in a press release.

The transactions will leave subsidiary Tidelands Bank with assets of approximately $550 million, loans of approximately $475 million and deposits of approximately $450 million, the release added.

Currently, the Mt. Pleasant-based institution has assets of $760 million, total gross loans of $480 million and a little more than $580 million in deposits, according to the company’s most recent quarterly filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

Last month, Tidelands called off plans to offer approximately $35 million in common stock due to unfavorable market conditions. At the time, the company said it was aggressively analyzing other capital-raising alternatives, but did not disclose what those might be.

Tidelands lost $2 million during the quarter ended March 31, more than $11 million in 2009 and nearly $5 million in 2008.

Tidelands stock is selling for less than $1 a share, down from a 52-week high of $4.76.

Don’t underrate China’s Taiwan obsession

Many Americans remain woefully uninformed about China, despite it being the world’s most populous nations and an up-and-coming superpower.

Take, for example, China’s fixation with Taiwan. To most Americans, it seems inconceivable that Chinese leaders would risk a deadly confrontation with the US over Taiwan, formed in 1949 when the Republic of China retreated to the island from the Chinese mainland after being defeated by the Communists.

Yet, at least one expert believes the reabsorption of Taiwan into a unified China is essential to complete a national recovery from the so-called Century of Humiliation, the period from 1840-1948 when the Western powers and Japan dominated the Celestial Kingdom, albeit at different times.

“There is no overriding strategic reason why the United States should elevate the defense of de facto Taiwanese independence to the level of a core national security objective,” writes Martin Sieff in Shifting Superpowers: The New and Emerging Relationship between the United States, China, and India.

Taiwan has vastly benefitted from US investment and protection for nearly six decades and it’s become an enormously prosperous nation in its own right, Sieff writes, adding that the island nation’s long-term prosperity and security appear best guaranteed by some kind of “one nation, two systems” formula, similar to the arrangement Hong Kong enjoys.

“A Taiwanese commitment to de jure independence that led to it being bombarded by Chinese missiles from the mainland and forcefully occupied by the People’s Liberation Army, with all the suffering such occupations invariably entail, would hardly be in the best interests of its people,” Sieff adds in his 2010 book.

At the end of Shifting Superpowers, Sieff writes that China at the beginning of the 21st century bears some resemblance to the United States at the beginning of the 20th century. The US enjoyed a period of great industrial growth in the decades following the Civil War; China has seen a similar period of peaceful economic expansion over the past few decades. Eventually, though, nationalist fervor swept both nations.

In 1898, the long-time isolationist US not only invaded Cuba, but captured the Philippines, as well. At the time, the move stunned the rest of the world.

As China grows stronger militarily and economically, it will likely become more willing to resort to force if necessary to accomplish long-term goals.

“It would be much easier for Chinese public opinion in the first decades of the 21st century to support a limited war with the United States to reintegrate Taiwan with the mainland than it was for the American public to rally behind a war to liberate Cuba and eventually take control of the Philippines half a world away in 1898,” Sieff writes.