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Hancock Reports First Quarter 2014 Financial Results

GULFPORT, Miss., April 16, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Hancock Holding Company (Nasdaq:HBHC) today announced its financial results for the first quarter of 2014. Operating income for the first quarter of 2014 was $49.1 million or $.58 per diluted common share, compared to $45.8 million, and $.55 in the fourth quarter of 2013. Operating income was $48.6 million, or $.56, in the first quarter of 2013. 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.

There were no adjustments between operating income and net income for the first quarters of 2013 and 2014. In the fourth quarter of 2013, net income reflected the impact of certain one-time noninterest expenses of $17.1 million. Net income for the fourth quarter of 2013 was $34.7 million, or $.41 per diluted common share, with a ROA of 0.74%.

Highlights of the Company's first quarter of 2014 results:
  • Continued improvement in the overall quality of earnings (replacing declining purchase accounting income with core results)
  • Operating expenses declined $10.1 million linked-quarter, or 6%, exceeding the first quarter's expense goal and achieving the targeted fourth quarter goal ahead of schedule
  • Efficiency ratio improved to 62%; additional branch closures and the previously announced divestiture of selected insurance lines of business will fund revenue-generating projects that will contribute to achieving the efficiency ratio target for 2016 of 57%-59%
  • Core net interest income (TE) was flat linked-quarter; core net interest margin (NIM) narrowed 3 basis points (bps) (we define our core results as reported results less the impact of net purchase accounting adjustments)
  • Approximately $231 million linked-quarter net loan growth, or 8% annualized, and approximately $1.2 billion, or 11%, year-over-year loan growth (each excluding the FDIC-covered portfolio)
  • Purchase accounting loan accretion declined $.6 million; expect continuation of quarterly declines with accelerating declines in the second half of 2014
  • Continued improvement in overall asset quality metrics
  • Return on average assets (ROA) (operating) improved to 1.05% from 0.97% in the fourth quarter of 2013 and 1.03% in the first quarter a year ago

"A lot of hard work and focus has allowed us to meet our fourth quarter of 2014 expense target three quarters ahead of schedule, and I would like to thank all of our associates for achieving this aggressive goal," said Hancock's President and Chief Executive Officer Carl J. Chaney. "But we are not done. As we continue our work to improve the quality of our earnings (replacing declining purchase accounting income with core income), we expect operating EPS to remain flat in the near term. Over the next couple of quarters you may see expenses rise slightly as we reinvest in higher-return, revenue-generating lines of business to help achieve our efficiency ratio targets, however we remain committed to keeping expenses for the fourth quarter of 2014 in line with our stated goal." 

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