Simmons First National Corporation posted double-digit fourth quarter and full year earnings as growth in its loan portfolios gave the Pine Bluff-based bank holding company a boost.

For the fourth quarter, Simmons First reported net income of $8 million, up 27% from one year ago. For the full year, the bank reported net income of $27.7 million, up 11.6%.

“There are many positives with our earnings announcement. Personally, I believe the 27% net income growth is a major accomplishment,” said CEO Tommy May. “Even more significant is the way it was accomplished through the execution of our strategic plan, which resulted in the deployment of our excess capital in two strategic acquisitions, continued improvement in our asset quality numbers that were already strong and new initiatives that were introduced in all eight of our banks that resulted in good growth in our loan portfolios and customer relationships.”

On October 19, 2012, Simmons First entered into an agreement to purchase $180 million in assets and assume substantially all of the deposits and other liabilities of Excel Bank of Sedalia, Missouri. The company recognized a pre-tax bargain purchase gain of $2.3 million on this transaction and incurred pre-tax merger related costs of $1.1 million.

Financial highlights from the fourth quarter include:

  • Total loans, including those acquired, were $1.9 billion at December 31, 2012, an increase of $184.3 million, or 10.6%, compared to the same period in 2011.
  • At December 31, 2012, total deposits were $2.9 billion, an increase of $224 million, or 8.4%, compared to the same period in 2011.
  • The bank's net interest income for the fourth quarter of 2012 was $30.6 million, an increase of $3.3 million, or 12.1%, from the same period of 2011.
  • Non-interest income for the fourth quarter was $14.8 million, compared to $12.8 million for the fourth quarter of 2011.

Simmons First shares (NASDAQ: SFNC) closed trading on Wednesday at $25.08. The company's stock has traded between $22.36 and $28.54 per share during the last year.

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