Purchase Price Cut for Sunwest Bank

Centennial Beneficial Corp. of Orange said it is has amended its agreement to acquire Tustin-based Sunwest Bank, slashing the purchase price by nearly one-third, to $10.75 million, or $50.75 a share.

Centennial, a publicly owned bank holding company formed in 1981, last year had offered $16 million, or $75.50 per share, for Sunwest, which has five offices and more than $150 million in assets.

Sunwest President John Harney said Friday that the price reduction was negotiated to account for anticipated losses for 1984 and a resulting drop in the value of the bank's stock. The bank's audited financial statement has not yet been released, but Harney said losses could hit $1 million or more.

Centennial Chairman John Joseph has said in previous interviews that his company is willing to pump capital into Sunwest to cover any losses and enable the bank to increase its capital and assets.

Harney and Joseph said the acquisition is expected to close during the second quarter, pending approval by Sunwest shareholders and state and federal regulators.

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