GULFPORT, Miss., April 25, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Hancock Holding Company (Nasdaq:HBHC) today announced financial results for the first quarter of 2013. Net income for the first quarter of 2013 was $48.6 million, or $.56 per diluted common share, compared to $47.0 million, or $.54, in the fourth quarter of 2012. Net income was $18.5 million, or $.21 per diluted common share, in the first quarter of 2012. Pre-tax earnings for the first quarter of 2013 and fourth quarter of 2012 included no merger-related costs. The first quarter of 2012 included pre-tax merger-related costs of $33.9 million.
Included in the Company's first quarter of 2013 results are:
- Approximately $7.5 million pre-tax, or $.06 per diluted common share, of higher than expected loan accretion income related to cash collected on zero carrying value acquired loan pools.
- Approximately $6.6 million pre-tax, or $.05 per diluted common share, of net loan loss provision taken on the FDIC covered portfolio.
- Approximately $1.1 million, or $.01 per diluted common share, of one-time tax benefits related to specific tax credits.
Due to continued rate pressure on earning assets and other economic headwinds impacting overall revenue, management expects near term earnings to remain flat to slightly down from current levels.Management expects these pressures and headwinds will continue into the foreseeable future. Therefore, as part of its ongoing planning process, management reviewed its long-term strategic plan to determine the most effective and efficient way of operating the consolidated organization. As part of this review, it was determined that certain areas of the Company needed to be right-sized or retooled, and as a result management is announcing today an efficiency and process improvement initiative designed to reduce overall annual expense levels by $50 million. "While it is appropriate to look back on the past year and recognize our associates' hard work in completing the core systems conversion and achieving our merger cost synergies, we must now focus on Hancock's future as one strong combined company," said Hancock's President and Chief Executive Officer Carl J. Chaney. "During this new phase of our long-term strategic planning process, it became apparent that we can no longer operate under the model of being all things to all people. We recognize that in order to overcome the challenges of both current and expected future operating environments we must make strategic decisions that could involve a change of direction in certain markets. These changes include improving the Company's profitability through short-term efficiency improvements and longer-term process improvement and re-engineering efforts. Our efforts will include reviews of both front and back office areas, a review of the current branch network, as well as a review of business models across our footprint. The Company is committed to reducing non-interest expense over the next 7 quarters, and we expect to achieve 50% of our targeted reduction by the end of the first quarter of 2014 and the remainder by the end of the fourth quarter of 2014. When fully implemented, our annualized non-interest expense will be $50 million lower than the annualized level of non-interest expense for 2013 using our first quarter of 2013 results as a base. With these expense reductions and a combination of revenue improvement and balance sheet growth, we have set a long-term sustainable efficiency ratio target of 57% to 59% beginning in 2016."