Simmons First annual report highlights increases, expansions in ‘13

Simmons First National Corp. reported a 46 percent one-year increase in its stock price and a 5 percent increase in the financial institution’s per-share dividend payout in its 2013 company report, released last week.

The report chronicled a year marked by the acquisition of Metropolitan National Bank and the retirement of J. Thomas May as chairman and CEO, replaced by George A. Makris Jr. at the end of the year.

“At the end of 2013 we celebrated the outstanding career of our Chairman and CEO, Tommy May, on the occasion of his retirement after 27 years at Simmons,” Makris said in the report. “During his tenure at the helm Simmons grew by almost 10 times in asset size and expanded from just a handful of communities in Arkansas to a footprint in three states: Arkansas, Missouri and Kansas.”

Makris said that May will continue his professional relationship with the company, serving as chairman of the newly created Simmons First Foundation.

“The acquisition of Metropolitan National Bank [on Nov. 25, 2013] is an exciting opportunity for Simmons in central and northwest Arkansas,” Makris said in the report. “The combination of Simmons and Metropolitan will provide the scale necessary to enhance our service to our customers and future customers in these two growth areas in Arkansas. We will have a resulting network of 28 locations in the central Arkansas area and 10 locations in northwest Arkansas.”

Simmons listed total 2013 assets of $4.4 billion — up from $3.5 billion in 2012 — and a 2013 dividend of 84 cents per share, up from 80 cents per share in 2012.

The per-share price of Simmons First stock was $37.15 on Dec. 31, 2013, up from $25.36 per share on Dec. 31, 2012.

Simmons calculated an annual rate of return to shareholders of 2.5 percent based on recent stock price.

Simmons listed $27 million in core earnings for 2013.