First Community Corporation (Nasdaq: FCCO) is the holding company for First Community Bank, a local community bank based in the midlands of South Carolina. First Community Bank operates with 20 full-service banking offices located in the Midlands, Upstate and Aiken areas of South Carolina and the Augusta region of Georgia. The bank is also in the process of opening its twenty-first location in Evans, Georgia this summer. First Community Bank opened its doors for business in 1995 and management, led by Mike Crapps since its founding, has grown the bank to a $1 Billion asset institution with a branch network concentrated in three attractive southeastern markets.
Shares of FCCO are attractively priced to initiate a long position in a bank with an attractive branch footprint, premier deposit franchise, strong capital positions, and standalone growth and profitability potential. Shares of FCCO are currently trading at a trailing P/E multiple of 12x and a P/TBV ratio of 135%. Both the EPS-based and TBV-based valuations are attractive levels to take an ownership stake in a banking franchise that is strategically and operationally positioned to deliver double-digit returns on equity over a full credit cycle. Key driver of current discount versus peers appears to be the impending deletion from the Russell 2000 Index as shares are trading at a 25% TBV discount and 35% EPS discount to its peer group.