by Lance Turner
Posted 4/17/2014 11:33 am
Updated 7 months ago
Simmons First National Corp. of Pine Bluff on Thursday reported a 27 percent decline in first-quarter profit but said "core earnings," which exclude one-time costs related to its purchase of Metropolitan National Bank of Little Rock, rose compared to the same quarter last year.
The company, which is also buying Delta Trust & Bank of Little Rock, also predicted more one-time expenses that would affect its balance sheet in the coming year.
The bank company said first-quarter profit was $4.4 million, or 27 cents per share, down from $5.9 million, or 36 cents per share. Excluding one-time costs, "core earnings" were $7.5 million, or 46 cents per share, up 23 percent from the same time last year.
One-time costs included $3.1 million in after-tax non-interest merger-related expenses and "branch right-sizing costs."
Simmons First is working to integrate the operations of Metropolitan National Bank, which it purchased in November. As a result of the merger, the company has had to close and consolidate bank branches throughout its expanded footprint. The company is also working toward approval of its announced merger with Delta Trust, announced in March.
"We are pleased with the core earnings results for the first quarter," Chairman and CEO George Makris said in a news release. "As a result of our fourth quarter acquisition of Metropolitan National Bank, our recently announced acquisition of Delta Trust & Bank, other possible acquisitions and efficiency initiatives, we have and will continue to recognize one-time revenue and expense items which may skew our short-term business results but provide long-term performance benefits.
"Our focus continues to be improvement in core operating income," he said.