Simmons’ 2nd-quarter earnings outpace 2012

Simmons First National Corporation announced Thursday that its 2013 second quarter diluted earnings per share price of 40 cents is an increase of two cents (5.3 percent) over the same quarter last year.

“Considering interest rates continue at historical lows we were pleased with our 5.3 percent quarterly earnings per share increase,” said Simmons CEO-elect George A. Makris Jr. “Moreso we were pleased with the positive trends in our balance sheet as reflected in our normalized organic loan growth of approximately three percent, which enabled us to produce a net interest margin of 3.96 percent. The organic loan growth, coupled with strong asset quality, bodes well for the balance of the year.”

Total loans, including those acquired, were $1.9 billion as of June 30, an increase of $149.7 million or 8.8 percent compared with the same period in 2012 according to a Simmons press release.

“This was the third consecutive quarter of loan growth,” Makris said. “While still not enough to call a trend we believe it is very positive in that growth is coming throughout our markets in Arkansas, Kansas and Missouri. Needless to say, the economy remains in a slow recovery, which makes this growth even more significant.”

Total deposits as of June 30 were $2.8 billion, which is an increase of $183.8 million, or 7 percent, compared to the same period in 2012. Total non-time deposits totaled $2 billion or 71 percent of total deposits.

The company’s net interest income for the second quarter of 2013 was $29.6 million, an increase of $2.3 million, or 8.6 percent from the same period of 2012, according to the press release.

Non-interest expense for the second quarter of 2013 was $30.3 million, an increase of $2.1 million compared with the same period of 2012.

“Included in the quarter were $1.9 million in normal operating expenses attributable to our 2012 FDIC-assisted acquisitions,” Makris said. “Normalized for these acquisition related expenses, non-interest expense for the quarter increased by only eight-tenths of one percent. Obviously we continue to have excellent expense control as a result of the implementation of our efficiency initiatives.”

Beginning in 2010 the company has acquired loans and foreclosed real estate through FDIC-assisted acquisitions according to the Simmons press release. As of June 30 acquired loans covered by loss share were carried at $164 million and the foreclosed real estate covered by loss share was carried at $23 million and the FDIC loss share indemnification asset was carried at $68 million.

“On a linked quarter basis our non-performing assets decreased $2.8 million,” Makris said. “Included in our non-performing assets was $8.6 million net of a credit mark of non-covered [foreclosed real estate] we acquired in our two recent FDIC-assisted transactions. Normalizing for the acquired [foreclosed real estate] our legacy non-performing assets as a percent of total assets was 0.92 percent as of June 30, which continues to compare favorably to the industry and our peer group.”

Stockholders’ equity as of June 30 was $402 million while book value per share was $24.67 and tangible book value per share was $20.74, according to the Simmons press release.

“Our exceptional level of capital allows us to actively pursue the right opportunities that meet our strategic plan regarding mergers and acquisitions,”Makrissaid.

Through the second quarter of 2013 the company has repurchased approximately 327,000 shares at an average price of $25.50 according to the Simmons press release. The company plans to continue to allocate its earnings, less dividends, to its stock repurchase program.