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April 27, 2012

SCBT Reports Net Income of $7.0 million for the 1st Quarter of 2012; Declares Quarterly Cash Dividend

COLUMBIA, S.C.— (April 27, 212) SCBT Financial Corporation (NASDAQ: SCBT), the holding company for SCBT, National Association, today released its unaudited results of operations and other financial information for the three-month period ended March 31, 2012. Highlights of the first quarter 2012 include the following:

  • Net income of $7.0 million, or $0.50 diluted EPS in 1Q 2012 compared to $4.8 million, or $0.35 diluted EPS in 4Q 2011 and $2.5 million, or $0.19 diluted EPS in 1Q 2011
  • Return on average assets was 0.71% annualized 1Q 2012 compared to 0.49% in 4Q 2011 and 0.27% in 1Q 2011
  • Return on average equity was 7.37% annualized 1Q 2012 compared to 5.00% in 4Q 2011 and 2.94% in 1Q 2011
  • Net charge-offs of non-acquired loans decreased to 0.66% annualized for 1Q 2012, compared to 1.08% annualized for 4Q 2011 and 1.53% annualized for 1Q 2011;
  • Non-performing Assets (NPAs): 2.26% of total assets compared to 2.44% for 4Q 2011 and 2.29% for 1Q 2011; 3.72% of loans and repossessed assets, excluding acquired assets, compared to 3.82% for 4Q 2011 and 3.83% for 1Q 2011
  • Core deposits growth, excluding CDs, of $160.8 million, or 27.4% annualized, from 4Q 2011

Quarterly Cash Dividend

The Board of Directors of SCBT has declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.17 per share payable on its common stock. This per share amount is equal to the dividend paid in the immediately preceding quarter and will be payable on May 25, 2012 to shareholders of record as of May 18, 2012.

First Quarter 2012 Financial Performance

Please refer to the accompanying tables for detailed comparative data on results of operations and financial results.

The Company reported consolidated net income of $7.0 million, or $0.50 per diluted share for the three months ended March 31, 2012. Driving this increase was a reduced provision for non-acquired loan losses and reduced other real estate owned (“OREO”) write downs due to improvement in asset quality.

“We are off to a very good start in 2012, and the results our team produced were the best we have experienced in a number of years,” said Robert R. Hill, Jr., president and CEO. These results were impacted by significant changes, improvements, and growth that our company experienced in the last year. We experienced improvements in all asset quality metrics, with net charge-offs being 66 basis points for the quarter, the lowest since the fourth quarter of 2008. Our bankers increased our core deposit base by more than $160 million, or 27% annualized growth during the quarter, and continue to strengthen our market share in the communities we serve. We did experience a decline in the non-acquired loan portfolio by $33.3 million from the end of 2011, primarily in the commercial real estate portfolio. Lastly, we announced on Tuesday that we had successfully closed the acquisition of Peoples Bancorporation, Inc. and are excited about the opportunities to expand our franchise in the fast-growing Upstate region of South Carolina.”

Asset Quality

During the first quarter of 2012, SCBT saw improvement in all asset quality metrics. These improvements were evidenced by declines in the following non-acquired categories at March 31, 2012: classified assets down to $177.5 million, loans 30-89 days past due down to $7.3 million, nonaccrual loans down to $70.0 million, and nonperforming assets down to $91.4 million.

At March 31, 2012, the allowance for non-acquired loan losses was $47.6 million or 1.95% of non-acquired period-end loans. The current allowance for loan losses provides .68 times coverage of period-end non-acquired nonperforming loans. Net charge-offs within the non-acquired portfolio were $4.1 million for the quarter or 0.66% annualized, the lowest rate since the fourth quarter of 2008.

Net Interest Income and Margin

Non-taxable equivalent net interest income was $39.0 million for the first quarter of 2012. Tax-equivalent net interest margin increased 52 basis points from the first quarter of 2011 to 4.70%; however, compared to the fourth quarter of 2011, tax-equivalent net interest margin decreased 8 basis points from 4.78%. The Company’s average yield on interest-earning assets increased 11 basis points while the average rate on interest-bearing liabilities decreased 45 basis points from the first quarter of 2011. During the first quarter of 2012, the Company’s average total assets increased to almost $4.0 billion and average earning assets increased to $3.4 billion. The growth in average total assets was supported by growth in average total deposits to $3.3 billion.

Noninterest Income and Expense

Noninterest income was $9.5 million in the first quarter of 2012. For the first quarter of 2012, the Company saw improvements in all categories of noninterest income over the comparable period of 2011 and in some categories from the fourth quarter of 2011. These increases were partially offset by negative accretion on the FDIC indemnification asset resulting from the reduction of expected cash flows of this asset related to certain pools of CBT (including Habersham Bank) acquired loans which had improved estimated cash flows.

Noninterest expense was $35.2 million in the first quarter of 2012. The decrease from the fourth quarter of 2012 was driven by a $2.1 million decrease in OREO expense.

Balance Sheet and Capital

In the first quarter of 2012, SCBT’s total assets exceeded the $4.0 billion benchmark for the first time. The asset growth was driven by increases in investment securities and cash and cash equivalents. Offsetting these increases were declines of more than $33.0 million in both the non-acquired and acquired loan portfolios from the fourth quarter of 2011. The asset growth was supported by $102.2 million in deposit growth; an increase of $160.8 million in core deposits offset by a $59.8 million decline in CDs.

Book value per share and tangible book value per share increased to $27.51 and $22.24 per share at March 31, 2012 by $0.32 and $0.35 per share from December 31, 2011 and by $1.29 and $1.42 per share from March 31, 2011.

The total risk-based capital ratio is estimated to improve by 46 basis points from the fourth quarter of 2011, due primarily to the increase in total risk-based capital from quarterly earnings and a decrease in total risk-weighted asset base. Tier 1 leverage ratio increased by 11 basis points for the quarter. The Company’s capital positions remain “well-capitalized” by all measures at March 31, 2012.

“Our balance sheet and capital ratios remain strong as evidenced by the increase in our risk-based capital ratios and our tangible book value,” said John C. Pollok, COO and CFO. “Pre-tax, pre-provision operating income remained above $13.3 million for the quarter.”

SCBT Financial Corporation will hold a conference call on April 27th at 11 a.m. ET where management will review earnings and performance trends. Callers wishing to participate may call toll-free by dialing 866-328-3013. The number for international participants is 914-495-8535. The conference ID number is 64351991. Participants can also listen to the live audio webcast through the Investor Relations section of www.SCBTonline.com. A replay will be available beginning April 27th by 2:00 pm Eastern Time until 11:59 p.m. on May 4th. To listen to the replay, dial 855-859-2056 or 404-537-3406. The passcode is 64351991.


***************

SCBT Financial Corporation, Columbia, South Carolina is a registered bank holding company incorporated under the laws of South Carolina. The Company consists of SCBT, N.A., the largest publicly traded bank headquartered in South Carolina; NCBT, a division of SCBT, N.A., and Community Bank & Trust, a division of SCBT, N.A. Providing financial services for over 78 years, SCBT Financial Corporation operates 76 locations in 19 South Carolina counties, 10 north Georgia counties, and Mecklenburg County in North Carolina. SCBT Financial Corporation has assets of approximately $4.5 billion and its stock is traded under the symbol SCBT in the NASDAQ Global Select Market.  

Non-GAAP Measures

Statements included in this press release include non-GAAP measures and should be read along with the accompanying tables which provide a reconciliation of non-GAAP measures to GAAP measures. Management believes that these non-GAAP measures provide additional useful information. Non-GAAP measures should not be considered as an alternative to any measure of performance or financial condition as promulgated under GAAP, and investors should consider the company's performance and financial condition as reported under GAAP and all other relevant information when assessing the performance or financial condition of the company. Non-GAAP measures have limitations as analytical tools, and investors should not consider them in isolation or as a substitute for analysis of the company's results or financial condition as reported under GAAP.

Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward Looking Statements

Statements included in this press release which are not historical in nature are intended to be, and are hereby identified as, forward looking statements for purposes of the safe harbor provided by Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. SCBT Financial Corporation cautions readers that forward-looking statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from forecasted results. Such risks and uncertainties, include, among others: (1) credit risk associated with an obligor's failure to meet the terms of any contract with the bank or otherwise fail to perform as agreed; (2) interest risk involving the effect of a change in interest rates on both the bank's earnings and the market value of the portfolio equity; (3) liquidity risk affecting the bank's ability to meet its obligations when they come due; (4) price risk focusing on changes in market factors that may affect the value of traded instruments in "mark-to-market" portfolios; (5) transaction risk arising from problems with service or product delivery; (6) compliance risk involving risk to earnings or capital resulting from violations of or nonconformance with laws, rules, regulations, prescribed practices, or ethical standards; (7) strategic risk resulting from adverse business decisions or improper implementation of business decisions; (8) reputation risk that adversely affects earnings or capital arising from negative public opinion; (9) terrorist activities risk that results in loss of consumer confidence and economic disruptions; (10) economic downturn risk resulting in deterioration in the credit markets; (11) greater than expected non-interest expenses; (12) excessive loan losses; (13) potential deposit attrition, higher than expected costs, customer loss and business disruption associated with the integration of acquisitions (including, among others, Peoples), including, without limitation, potential difficulties in maintaining relationships with key personnel and other integration related-matters; (14) the risks of fluctuations in market prices for SCBT stock that may or may not reflect economic condition or performance of SCBT; (15) the payment of dividends on SCBT being subject to regulatory supervision as well as the discretion of the SCBT board of directors; and (16) other factors, which could cause actual results to differ materially from future results expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements.

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