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Simmons First National Corp. closed on its purchase of a St. Louis area bank, the Pine Bluff bank said Monday.

Simmons announced in November that it had agreed to buy Reliance Bancshares of Des Peres, Mo., a St. Louis suburb, with 22 branches. Reliance had about $1.5 billion in assets.

"By adding over 20 bank branches to our presence in the St. Louis metropolitan area, this merger will strengthen our market share and bring forth additional opportunities for us to better serve this important region, which crosses into Illinois," said George Makris, chairman and chief executive officer of Simmons.

Simmons paid almost $105 million for Reliance, including $62.7 million in cash.

Thomas H. Brouster Sr., former chairman of Reliance, will serve in an advisory capacity to the St. Louis market after the transaction.

With the completion of the Reliance purchase, Simmons now has about $17.6 billion in assets and more than 200 branch locations across Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas.

-- David Smith

Passenger traffic up at LR, NW airports

Passenger traffic at Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport/Adams Field in Little Rock climbed nearly 7 percent in March compared with the same month in 2018.

A total of 182,239 passengers went through the state's largest airport last month. The total was 11,754, or 6.89 percent, more than the 170,485 the airport saw in March a year ago, according to the airport's latest monthly air-service development report.

The March numbers left the airport with 482,486 passengers for the first three months of the year, or 9.57 percent more than the 440,338 that went through the airport in the first three months of 2018.

Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport in Highfill reported even stronger March numbers, with passenger traffic up more than 15 percent from the same month in 2018. A total of 144,974 passengers went through Northwest Arkansas Regional in March, or 15.34 percent higher than a year ago.

Northwest Regional reported 375,970 passengers in the first quarter, a 12.57 percent increase.

-- Noel Oman

Arkansas Index loses 1.03, ends at 430.63

The Arkansas Index, a price-weighted index that tracks the largest public companies based in the state, fell 1.03 points to 430.63 Monday.

"U.S. stocks edged slightly lower on Monday, weighed down by less than impressive bank earnings, yet the S&P 500 remained within 1 percent of its all-time high," said Chris Harkins, managing director with Raymond James & Associates in Little Rock.

Total volume for the index was 14.8 million shares.

The index was developed by Bloomberg News and the Democrat-Gazette with a base value of 100 as of Dec. 30, 1997.

Business on 04/16/2019

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