by Lance Turner
Posted 4/17/2014 10:52 am
Updated 3 months ago
Home BancShares Inc. of Conway on Thursday announced another record quarterly profit as it continues to integrate the operations of Liberty Bancshares Inc. of Jonesboro.
Home BancShares, the parent company of Centennial Bank, reported first-quarter profit of $27.3 million or 42 cents per share, up 56 percent from $17.5 million or 31 cents per share in the same quarter last year.
Excluding $849,000 in merger expenses related to the Liberty acquisition, Home Bancshares would have reported earnings per share of 43 cents.
"During the first quarter, the company exhibited a notable diluted earnings per share metric of 43 cents per share," Johnny Allison, Home BancShares' chairman, said in a news release. "Our team continues to be dedicated on working toward recognizing the anticipated cost savings as quickly as possible from last quarter’s acquisition of Liberty."
CEO Randy Sims cited progress on key efficiency metrics, including improvements to net interest margin and return on average assets. Sims reported a 1.67 percent return in the first quarter, excluding merger expenses.
"This ratio demonstrates we are making the necessary earnings improvements to get the acquired Liberty franchise up to our standards," Sims said. "I, for one, am pleased with the continued achievements the company has realized during the first quarter of 2014."
During the quarter, Home BancShares closed one branch, in Panacea, Fla. It said it has no plans for additional de novo branches. It said that as a result of the merger with Liberty, it plans to "close or merge" four Arkansas and two Florida locations during the second quarter. Home BancShares didn't say which specific branches it would close or merge.
In all, Home BancShares has 88 branches in Arkansas, 52 branches in Florida and 7 branches in Alabama.