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For Missouri-based Enterprise Financial, M&A isn't the only way to grow

CEO Peter Benoist said April 28 that the company wouldseriously consider an M&A opportunity "that has a very strongstrategic rationale as opposed to just a financial rationale."

But Benoiststressed that the Clayton, Mo.-based company does not want to depend on M&Ato accelerate or maintain performance.

"Ithink our first priority and we've indicated pretty consistently is to continuethe momentum that we have now on a core basis," Benoist said during aconference call to discuss first-quarter results, according to a transcript.

EnterpriseFinancial views M&A as a longer-term strategy to continue to addshareholder value, he said.

"[W]edon't look at M&A as a near-term opportunity to advance the balldramatically," Benoist said. "So, one thing we don't want to do isdisrupt momentum with a transaction that doesn't fit exceedingly well in termsof what we're trying to accomplish."

The companyreportedfirst-quarter net income of $11.0 million, or 54 cents per share, compared tonet income of $9.3 million, or 46 cents per share, for the year-ago period.