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Wednesday, September 17, 2014, 4:41 p.m.
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Simmons First net income down 27%

By Gavin Lesnick

This article was published April 17, 2014 at 8:52 a.m.

Simmons First National Corp. on Thursday reported a nearly 27 percent dip in net income in the first quarter, though the bank pointed to an increase in core earnings that excluded certain costs.

The bank said net income in the quarter ending March 31 was $4.35 million, down 26.7 percent from $5.94 million in the first quarter of 2013. Diluted earnings per share were 27 cents, down 25 percent from 36 cents a year earlier.

But core earnings, which don't include after-tax non-interest merger-related expenses and branch sizing costs, went up 23 percent, the bank said. Core earnings were $7.5 million, which was $1.4 million more than a year earlier. Diluted core earnings per share went up 24.3 percent from 37 cents in 2013's first quarter to 46 cents in the recent quarter, the company said.

"We are pleased with the core earnings results for the first quarter," Chairman and CEO George A. Makris Jr. said in a statement. "As a result of our fourth quarter acquisition of Metropolitan National Bank, our recently announced acquisition of Delta Trust & Bank, other possible acquisitions and efficiency initiatives, we have and will continue to recognize one-time revenue and expense items which may skew our short-term business results but provide long-term performance benefits. Our focus continues to be improvement in core operating income."

The bank said total loans were $2.4 billion at the end of the first quarter, a 28 percent, or $518 million, increase from a year earlier. Total deposits increased 28.2 percent, and net interest income was up 38.1 percent.

Simmons’ conference call to discuss earnings at 3 p.m. can be reached by calling (866) 298-7926 and asking for the Simmons First National call or providing the identification number 21404149.

In addition, the call will be available live or in recorded version on the Simmons’ website at www.simmonsfirst.com.

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