GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) -- Regional bank Hancock Holding Co. says profit in 2013's second quarter rose 19 percent from the same three months of 2012, as the company benefited from a lack of merger expenses compared to a year ago.
Hancock, which operates Hancock Bank in Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, and Whitney Bank in Louisiana and Texas, posted quarterly profit Thursday of $46.9 million, or 55 cents per share. That's up from $39.3 million or 46 cents per share in 2012's second quarter, when Hancock spent $11.9 million on its merger with Whitney.
Analysts polled by FactSet had estimated 55 cents per share, on average.
Hancock says loans grew by $200 million, thanks to increased commercial and industrial lending.
The bank also says cost-cutting efforts are progressing, and it will sell 10 of the 40 branches that it had previously announced it would close. Three branches in the Alexandria, La., area will be sold to Sabine State Bank of Many, La. Seven branches in the Houston area will be sold to Texas Dow Employees Credit Union of Lake Jackson, Texas.
"The second quarter's performance reflected an improvement in our core results, a trend we expect to build on in the future," said Hancock CEO Carl Chaney.
Hancock's return on assets was 0.99 percent for the quarter. That key measure of profitability was basically flat from 1 percent a year ago, when merger expenses were excluded. In 2013's first quarter, Hancock had return on assets of 1.03 percent, compared to 0.84 percent for all banks based in Mississippi and 1.12 percent for all banks nationwide.
Gulfport-based Hancock has $18.9 billion in assets.