Posted 3/26/2012 12:00 am
Updated 2 years ago
Home BancShares Inc. of Conway remained an active bidder on FDIC-assisted transactions last year, but 2011 proved to be a year of assimilation for the company.
After emerging from 2010 with a $1.3 billion-asset string of acquisitions, Home BancShares emerged empty handed in 2011. Along the way, total assets shrunk 4 percent to $3.6 billion for the year.
Home BancShares did complete a purchase that resembled a government-enabled transaction but without direct regulatory involvement.
On Nov, 16, 2011, the company struck a $27.9 million deal with Park National Corp. to acquire certain assets of Vision Bank of Panama City, Fla., in a transaction that encompassed 17 banking centers in Alabama and Florida.
When the deal closed on Feb. 16, Home BancShares received $124.8 million cash from Park National.
Improving the company's operational performance appeared to be the rallying cry for the company after enduring financial licks and disappointing earnings in 2010. Record profits of $52.9 million helped buoy the company's return on equity to 11.1 percent.
"The overall success our company achieved during 2011 is both encouraging for a job well done and promising for an optimistic future," Sims, 57, said when the fourth-quarter results were announced on Jan. 19.
Sims received an 8 percent raise, boosting his 2011 salary to $335,000. He received total compensation of $866,825 for the year, with his biggest item of $365,466 realized from exercising stock options.
He owns about 99,500 shares of Home BancShares stock, worth about $2.63 million at the March 16 closing price of $26.43.
In August, Home BancShares repurchased its TARP-funded preferred shares and associated entanglements, clearing the way for the company to unilaterally increase its dividend payments.
The low-profile Sims assumed the CEO position in July 2009, succeeding the colorful Johnny Allison, who remains chairman of the board. Sims received unwanted attention in February when a hearing in Little Rock federal court revealed he was the victim of an extortion attempt.
The incident, which dated back to July 18, 2011, produced separate hearings in which Richard and Lona Johnson pleaded guilty to conspiring to extort $25,000 from Sims. Few details were made public, other than that the extortion attempt started "near the Morgan-Maumelle exit" on Interstate 40. Sims worked with FBI officials on the case, which led to the Johnsons' arrests following a sting in the parking lot of the Wal-Mart store in Maumelle.
Sims recently exited the board of trustees for the University of Central Arkansas in Conway after completing his second seven-year term.
In 1998, Sims helped launch what would become Home BancShares with Allison and Robert "Bunny" Adcock.