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First Financial Bancorp's CEO Discusses Q2 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Claude Davis

Great, thanks Ken, and thanks to all of you who have joined the call today. We are pleased to announce another quarter of solid performance, reporting net income of $17.8 million or $0.30 per diluted common share. Return on average assets was 1.13% and return on average equity was 9.98% for the quarter.

The results were impacted by two one-time items during the quarter. First, we recognized $2.2 million of nonrecurring expenses on a pre-tax basis or $0.02 per share, primarily related to expenses associated with our branch consolidation plan. We also recognized a pre-tax gain of $5 million associated with the settlement of litigation related to a subsidiary which impacted earnings per share by $0.05. Earnings were also affected by the provision for loan losses related to our uncovered loan portfolio which increased $5.1 million compared to the linked quarter.

We paid our third variable dividend during the quarter, representing a 100% dividend payout ratio based on our Q4 2011 reported earnings per share of $0.31, and while not reflected in Q2’s reported results, we paid our fourth variable dividend earlier this month based on Q1’s reported earnings per share of $0.29. Our next quarterly dividend will consist of a regular dividend of $0.15 per share and a variable dividend of $0.15 per share based on Q2’s earnings of $0.30, the announced dividend results and a current yield of 7.4% based on yesterday’s closing price of $16.21. As we mentioned last quarter we intend to continue paying the variable dividend through 2013 unless our capital position changes materially or capital deployment opportunities arise that cause our capital ratios to move to our stated thresholds sooner than expected.

As of June 30, our tangible counter ratio was 9.91%, Tier 1 leverage was 10.21%, and total risk-based capital was 18.42%. Our ratios continue to remain well in excess of our stated thresholds of a tangible ratio of 7%, Tier 1 leverage of 8% and total capital of 13%. Our strong capital ratios still have the ability to support significant growth and under the most constraining of our thresholds have capacity to support approximately $1.6 billion in additional assets under current regulatory capital standards.

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