Simmons 3Q Net Income Up 2.5 Percent Despite Expenses

Simmons First National Corp. on Thursday reported third-quarter net income of $6.93 million, up about 2.5 percent from the same period in 2012.

Thanks to a stock buy-back program, earnings per share for the quarter rose to 43 cents, up almost 5 percent. Year-to-date earnings reached $19.4 million.

The publicly traded Pine Bluff bank holding company (Nasdaq: SFNC) noted that it had $439,000 in after-tax expenses related to merger costs and branch closings, which weighed on the bottom line.

"As a result of recent acquisitions and efficiency initiatives, we have and will continue to recognize one-time revenue and expense items which may skew our short-term core business results but provide long-term performance benefits. Our focus continues to be improvement in core operating income," George A. Makris Jr., who is set to become CEO on Jan. 1, said in a news release.

Simmons, through its flagship Simmons First National Bank, expects to conclude its bankruptcy court-approved acquisition of Metropolitan National Bank of Little Rock about Dec. 1.

Total assets for the company, which operates eight separate banks, were $3.44 billion, up less than 1 percent from a year earlier.

Simmons management will conduct a conference call to review the third-quarter financials at 3 p.m. Thursday, which will be accessible live and then in a recorded version on the corporate website,