3 of 4 Arkansas Bank Stocks Climb in Value During 2012

by George Waldon  on Monday, Oct. 29, 2012 12:00 am  

Bank of the Ozarks Inc. of Little Rock and Simmons First National Corp. of Pine Bluff returned to the acquisition trail this year.

Earlier this month, the company struck a conventional $27.3 million stock/cash combo deal to buy Genala Banc Inc. of Geneva, Ala., owner of the $170 million-asset Citizens Bank.

For the year, the value of BOZ shares grew by 10.3 percent, up from $29.52 to $32.57. The company largely posted comparable quarter-to-quarter profit growth during 2012.

However, net income of $56.4 million for the nine months ending Sept. 30 reflected a 33 percent drop compared with the same 2011 reporting period. Those results were distorted by an unusual gain of $36.6 million realized from three FDIC-assisted transactions.

Simmons expanded its Missouri holdings with FDIC-assisted purchases of Truman Bank of St. Louis in September and Excel Bank of Sedalia, Mo., in October. The Truman transaction closed at a $20.9 million discount for assets of $282 million, while the Excel deal was recorded at a $21 million discount for assets of $201 million.

Simmons shares declined 10 percent in value during 2012, sliding from $27.60 to $24.83. It was the lone publicly traded lender based in Arkansas to experience a decline for the year as of Oct. 12.

The company's 2012 earnings were up and down in year-to-year comparisons, with first-quarter profits up 25 percent, second-quarter profits down about 3 percent and third quarter down 6.8 percent.

This summer, George Makris Jr. was named to succeed Tommy May as CEO of Simmons with May's long-planned retirement approaching next year.

SNL Financial LC of Charlottesville, Va., recognized Bank of the Ozarks as the No. 1 top-performing regional lender, while the financial information firm ranked Home BancShares at No. 16.



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