Simmons First National 2Q Profit Up 50 Percent

Simmons First National Corp. of Pine Bluff on Thursday reported a 50 percent rise in second-quarter profit, part of what CEO George Makris called a "landmark quarter" for the fast-growing financial holding company.

The company (Nasdaq: SFNC) reported net income of $9.9 million or 61 cents diluted earnings per share, up from $6.6 million or 40 cents per share in the same quarter last year.

Simmons also cited “record core earnings” of $9.2 million or 56 per share, up 43 percent from the same time last year. Simmons said core earnings exclude $755,000 in net after-tax earnings.

"The second quarter was a landmark quarter for Simmons," Makris said in a news release. "We announced two acquisitions totaling approximately $3 billion in assets and report record core earnings and record core earnings per share for the quarter."

In May, Simmons announced a $243.4 million deal to buy Community First Bancshares Inc. of Union City, Tennessee, and its $1.9 billion subsidiary bank, First State Bank. The stock-swap transaction, expected to close in the fourth quarter, will be Simmons' first foray into the Volunteer State. First State is the fifth-largest bank headquartered in Tennessee by assets but the 10th largest by deposits.

Later that same month, Simmons agreed to buy Liberty Bancshares Inc. of Springfield, Missouri, in all-stock deal worth $206.9 million. The deal includes the firm's wholly-owned bank subsidiary, Liberty Bank. 

Once that deal closes in the fourth quarter, Simmons will be the second-largest financial holding company headquartered in Arkansas with nearly $8 billion in assets.

Quarterly net interest income was $40.4 million, up 37 percent from the same quarter last year, an increase driven by growth in the company’s legacy loan portfolio and earning assets acquired through its purchase late last year of Metropolitan National Bank of Little Rock. 

Net interest margin was 4.34 percent, up 38 basis points from the same quarter last year. In both quarters, net interest margin included additional yield accretion from the cash flows of loan pools acquired Simmons’ recent FDIC-assisted transactions.