Simmons announces quarterly dividend

The Simmons First National Corp. Board of Directors declared Monday a regular 20-cent-per-share quarterly cash dividend payable April 2 to shareholders of record March 15.

This dividend represents a 1-cent-per-share — or 5.3 percent — increase over the dividend paid for the previous quarter.

“Simmons First has one of the strongest capital positions within our peer group, in fact ranking at the 97th percentile in regulatory capital,” said J. Thomas May, chairman and chief executive officer in a press release. “Obviously, a portion of this capital has been allocated for our acquisition program and we plan to leave this excess available for this purpose. In September 2011, we announced the restoration of our share repurchase program and we have repurchased 150,144 shares at an average price of $24.25. We plan to continue opportunistic repurchases during 2012.

“Likewise, since the sluggish economy has slowed our internal growth, we are reducing the amount of our capital allocated for growth and taking this opportunity to reward our shareholders with a dividend increase. At the current stock price of $26.68, the proposed annualized dividend produces a 3 percent yield, which I believe represents an attractive return in today’s market,” May said.