GULFPORT, Miss., Jan. 23, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Hancock Holding Company (Nasdaq:HBHC) today announced its financial results for the fourth quarter of 2013. Operating income for the fourth quarter of 2013 was $45.8 million or $.55 per diluted common share, compared to $46.8 million, or $.56 in the third quarter of 2013. Operating income was $46.6 million, or $.54, in the fourth quarter of 2012. We define our operating income as net income excluding tax-effected securities transactions gains or losses and one-time noninterest expense items. Management believes that operating income provides a useful measure of financial performance that helps investors compare the Company's fundamental operations over time. The financial tables include a reconciliation of net income to operating income.
Highlights of the Company's fourth quarter of 2013 results:
- Core net interest income (TE) increased approximately $1.5 million and core net interest margin (NIM) improved 3 basis points (bps) linked-quarter (we define our core results as reported results less the impact of net purchase accounting adjustments)
- Operating expenses declined $4.2 million linked-quarter as the Company remains on track to meet its first quarter of 2014 expense target
- Approximately $625 million linked-quarter net loan growth, or 22% annualized, and over $900 million, or 8%, year-over-year loan growth (each excluding the FDIC-covered portfolio)
- Purchase accounting loan accretion declined approximately $8 million, or $.06 per diluted common share after tax
- Continued improvement in overall asset quality metrics
- Tax rate declined to 20%, mainly related to benefits from additional investments in New Market Tax Credit projects in the fourth quarter
- Net income included one-time noninterest expense items of $17.1 million, or $11.1 million after tax ($.14 per diluted common share)
Hancock's return on average assets (ROA) (operating) was 0.97% for the fourth quarter of 2013, down slightly from 0.99% in the third quarter of 2013 and 0.98% in the fourth quarter a year ago.