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story.lead_photo.caption Graphs showing information about Simmons First National's First quarter

Simmons First National Bank reported record net income for the first quarter of $51.3 million, more than double its earnings of $22.1 million in the same period a year before, the Pine Bluff bank said Monday.

The bank's stock rose 15 cents Monday to close at $28.95 in trading on the Nasdaq exchange. Simmons released its first-quarter earnings after the market closed Monday.

Simmons earned 55 cents a share, easily beating the average projection of 52 cents a share from five analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters.

Simmons had deposits of $11.7 billion and loans of $11 billion as of March 31. That compared with deposits of $6.8 billion and loans of $5.8 billion on March 31, 2017.

The bank had total assets of $15.6 billion in the first quarter, compared with $8.6 billion in the same period last year.

During the quarter, Simmons completed the software conversion of Southwest Bank, which it purchased in October, and also completed an offering of $330 million that will be used to repay debt and for general purposes.

"We are off to a productive start for 2018," George Makris Jr., chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement. "We remain focused on the Bank SNB conversion and anticipate it will also be a smooth transition. We're excited about building a stronger and more diverse organization."

Simmons had an efficiency ratio of 53.24 percent in the first quarter compared with 60.92 percent in the same period last year. That means it cost Simmons $53.24 to earn $100 in the first three months of the year.

Simmons also completed a two-for-one stock split effective Feb. 8.

Simmons has faced challenges in the past six months or so, said Randy Dennis, president of DD&F Consulting Group of Little Rock.

"When you grow as fast as they have grown, it's a real challenge to consolidate and integrate all that," Dennis said. "From outward appearances, I think they've done a pretty good job of pulling their $15 billion plus of assets together over multiple states. That is no small feat."

Simmons' management will conduct a conference call at 9 a.m. today. Interested persons may listen to the call by dialing (866) 298-7926 and providing the identification number 419-8919.

Business on 04/24/2018

Print Headline: Simmons bank's profit jumps; $51.3M in 1Q net income sets record, exceeds forecast

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