CAMDEN, N.J. — Cooper University Health System says it has reached an agreement to acquire three Catholic hospitals in New Jersey, which if approved would create the fourth largest health care chain in the state.

The initial deal was announced Thursday with three Trinity Health hospitals — Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center in Camden; Lourdes Medical Center at Burlington in Willingboro; and St. Francis Medical Center in Trenton.

The merger must be approved by state and federal regulatory agencies.

Together with Cooper’s 635-bed flagship hospital in Camden, the newly created chain would operate nearly 1,400 beds, and have combined revenue of nearly $2 billion.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports (http://bit.ly/2vJ2bg9) planned acquisitions come as Cooper has been surging financially. In the last two years, it has had the strongest revenue growth of the four health systems in south Jersey.