updated 10/21/2010 9:16:55 AM ET 2010-10-21T13:16:55

CONWAY, Ark., Oct. 21, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Home BancShares, Inc. (Nasdaq:HOMB), parent company of Centennial Bank, today announced third quarter earnings of $9.6 million, or $0.31 diluted earnings per common share, compared to $7.2 million, or $0.29 diluted earnings per common share for the same quarter in 2009. This represents a $2.3 million, or 32.1% increase in the 2010 earnings over 2009. Additionally, the $9.6 million base earnings (net income excluding gain on acquisitions) for the third quarter of 2010 were the best base earnings in the Company's history.

Because acquisitions are a growth and a capital management strategy, cash earnings (net income excluding amortization of intangibles after-tax) are useful in evaluating the Company. Cash diluted earnings per share for the third quarter of 2010 was $0.33, compared to $0.30 for the same period in 2009.

"We are pleased with the exceptional results for the quarter just ended," said John Allison, Chairman. "The FDIC acquisitions of Coastal Community Bank, Bayside Savings Bank and Wakulla Bank are strong opportunistic acquisitions for our Company allowing us to expand our footprint into the Florida Panhandle. We continue to uphold our status as a 'well-capitalized' financial institution positioned to take advantage of FDIC deals as they become reasonably opportunistic."

"Our Company has continued to pick up momentum during the third quarter of 2010. We've had another solid quarter with a record quarterly net interest income, a sub 50 core efficiency ratio, and an improving net interest margin," said Randy Sims, Chief Executive Officer. "To see our Company attain three additional FDIC acquisition opportunities since our last earnings release was tremendous. We are proud to welcome these banks into the Centennial Bank family."

Operating Highlights

Net interest income for the third quarter of 2010 was a quarterly record for the Company, increasing 27.4% to $30.2 million compared to $23.7 million for the third quarter of 2009. Net interest margin, on a fully taxable equivalent basis, was 4.35% in the quarter just ended compared to 4.26% in the third quarter of 2009, an increase of 9 basis points. The Company's ability to improve pricing on our deposits and minimize the decline of interest rates on earning assets allowed the Company to improve net interest margin.

The Company reported $8.3 million of non-interest income for the third quarter of 2010, an increase of 9.8% compared to $7.6 million for the third quarter of 2009. The most significant components of the third quarter non-interest income were $3.6 million from service charges on deposits accounts, $1.8 million from other service charges and fees, $1.9 million of accretion on the FDIC indemnification asset, $760,000 from mortgage lending income and $330,000 increase in cash value of life insurance offset by a loss on sale of OREO of $1.1 million.

Non-interest expense for the third quarter of 2010 was $21.3 million compared to $17.0 million for the third quarter of 2009. Our core efficiency ratio improved 4.2 points to 47.2% for the third quarter of 2010 from the 51.4% reported in the third quarter of 2009.  This improvement is associated with the on-going implementation of the efficiency study and the charter consolidation last year. 

Financial Condition

Total non-covered loans were $1.96 billion at September 30, 2010 compared to $1.95 billion at December 31, 2009.  Total deposits were $2.56 billion at September 30, 2010 compared to $1.84 billion at December 31, 2009. Total assets were $3.39 billion at September 30, 2010 compared to $2.68 billion at December 31, 2009.

Non-performing non-covered loans were $41.6 million as of September 30, 2010, of which $29.3 million were located in Florida. Non-performing non-covered loans as a percent of total non-covered loans were 2.13% as of September 30, 2010 compared to 2.05% as of December 31, 2009. Non-performing non-covered assets were $54.4 million as of September 30, 2010, of which $36.6 million were located in Florida. Non-performing non-covered assets as a percent of total non-covered assets were 1.95% as of September 30, 2010 compared to the 2.12% reported for December 31, 2009. 

The Company's allowance for loan losses was $43.8 million at September 30, 2010, or 2.24% of total non-covered loans, compared to $43.0 million, or 2.20% of total non-covered loans, at December 31, 2009. As of September 30, 2010, the Company's allowance for loan losses equaled 105% of its total non-performing non-covered loans compared to 108% as of December 31, 2009.

Stockholders' equity was $498.5 million at September 30, 2010 compared to $465.0 million at December 31, 2009, an increase of $33.5 million. Book value per common share was $15.79 at September 30, 2010 compared to $14.71 at December 31, 2009.

New Branches

During 2010, Centennial Bank entered into five loss sharing agreements with the FDIC. Through these five transactions, the Company has added a total of thirty-one branch locations in Florida. These branch locations include one in the Florida Keys, six in the Greater Orlando MSA, and twenty-four in the Florida Panhandle, which contains seven locations in the Panama City MSA and nine locations in the Tallahassee MSA. The Company is currently evaluating the branch locations acquired from the FDIC. Although the Company plans to keep most of these branches, presently no final determination for any potential branch closures has been made. Presently, the Company is evaluating additional opportunities but has no firm commitments for any additional de novo branch locations.

Conference Call

Management will conduct a conference call to review this information at 1:00 p.m. CT (2:00 ET) on Thursday, October 21, 2010. Interested parties can listen to this call by calling 1-877-317-6789 and asking for the Home BancShares conference call. A replay of the call will be available by calling 1-877-344-7529, Passcode: 444481, which will be available until October 29, 2010 at 4:00 p.m. CT (5:00 ET). Internet access to the call will be available live or in recorded version on the Company's website at www.homebancshares.com under "Investor Relations" for 12 months.

General

This release contains forward-looking statements regarding the Company's plans, expectations, goals and outlook for the future. Statements in this press release that are not historical facts should be considered forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements of this type speak only as of the date of this news release. By nature, forward-looking statements involve inherent risk and uncertainties. Various factors, including, but not limited to, economic conditions, credit quality, interest rates, loan demand and changes in the assumptions used in making the forward-looking statements, could cause actual results to differ materially from those contemplated by the forward-looking statements. Additional information on factors that might affect Home BancShares, Inc.'s financial results are included in its Form 10-K, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission in March 2010.

Home BancShares, Inc. is a bank holding company, headquartered in Conway, Arkansas. Our wholly-owned subsidiary Centennial Bank provides a broad range of commercial and retail banking plus related financial services to businesses, real estate developers, investors, individuals and municipalities. Centennial Bank has locations in central Arkansas, north central Arkansas, southern Arkansas, the Florida Keys, southwestern Florida, central Florida, and the Florida Panhandle. The Company's common stock is traded through the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol "HOMB."
 

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