Simmons First Q1 Profit Beats Expectations

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Simmons First National Corp. of Pine Bluff on Tuesday reported first-quarter profit of $67.4 million, down 13% from the same quarter. But earrings per share and revenue results beat analysts’ expectations.

The publicly traded company reported net income of 62 cents per share, ahead of analyst forecasts of 52 cents per share. Revenue was $221.3 million, and adjusted revenue was $198.6 million, just ahead of analyst forecasts of $196 million.

In a news release, the company attributed the year-over-year profit decline to a difference in gains on securities sales during those periods. The company said first-quarter “core earnings” were $64 million, down 13% from $73.8 million in the same quarter last year. Core diluted earnings per share were 59 cents, down about 9% from the same quarter last year.

George A. Makris, Jr., Simmons’ chairman and CEO, said the company was pleased by its “solid performance,” and said the company is still feeling the effects of COVID-19 on the economy.

“Some industries are still struggling to return to pre-COVID levels of performance and the government’s economic stimulus packages have created a rapid rise in liquidity,” Makris said. “Loan demand has been well below historical levels, but we are encouraged by the rebuilding of the pipeline during the first quarter. 

Makris said asset quality has improved since last year, a trend he thinks will continue. He said the company has lending capacity that it hasn’t seen in several years, leaving the company “poised to do our part as the economy continues to return to normal.”

Total deposits were $18.2 billion as of March 31, up $2.6 billion — nearly 17% — since the same point last year and $1.2 billion — or 7% — since last quarter, which Simmons attributed to multiple rounds of economic stimulus efforts and changes in customer spending amid the pandemic.

Total consolidated assets hit $23.3 billion as of March 31.

Simmons First National shares (Nasdaq: SFNC) have climbed 35% since the beginning of the year. The stock has increased 63% in the last 12 months.