Shares of Laurentian Bank were down more than 10% in morning trading after it announced it had completed its review of strategic options without a deal to sell the bank.
The Montreal-based bank said Thursday it has decided that its best path forward to drive shareholder value is an accelerated evolution of its current plan with an increased focus on efficiency.
A strategic review is often seen by investors as a prelude to a sale by a company. However, Laurentian said it will work on simplifying its organizational structure and focusing on allocating capital and resources to its highest grossing businesses and specialized products.
“Having now completed this review of our strategic options, we are more confident than ever in Laurentian Bank’s strong positioning in the market and unique offering for our customers,” Laurentian chief executive Rania Llewellyn said in a statement.
“As we continue to evolve our bank, our executive management team and all employees will build on our proven track record of executing against our plan and delivering meaningful results for our customers, shareholders, and stakeholders.”
Laurentian announced its strategic review in July, prompting speculation the bank could be acquired.
The news at the time sent the bank’s shares from around $33 to $43 each on speculation of a sale, but its stock had sunk to under $36 as of Wednesday’s close.
Shares were down $4.07, or 11.35%, to $31.80 at mid-morning on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
The bank said Thursday it considered a variety of options, including an acquisition of the whole bank, sale of certain businesses, as well as accelerating its current strategic plan.
National Bank analyst Gabriel Dechaine said in a note that he had anticipated a buyer would step in to buy the bank at below book value, and was downgrading the bank’s rating given that’s not the case.
“Without a major catalyst emerging from this strategic review, we believe 1/8Laurentian Bank’s 3/8 stock will be under pressure, with new investors difficult to attract.”
As part of its path forward, the bank said Eric Provost, currently head of commercial banking, will assume the leadership of personal banking as group head of personal and commercial banking.
Sebastien Belair will also become the bank’s chief administrative officer, assuming responsibility for the bank’s operations in addition to his current role as chief human resources officer.
Laurentian said it will share more information when it reports its fourth-quarter results on Dec. 7 and will unveil a renewed strategic plan at an investor day early in 2024.
The bank has been working through a three-year strategic plan it launched in late 2021 to modernize operations, including with the rollout of its first mobile banking app.