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January 31, 2013

SCBT Reports Record Operating Results for 4Q 2012 of $0.72 per share; Declares Quarterly Cash Dividend

COLUMBIA, S.C.—January 31, 2013—SCBT Financial Corporation (NASDAQ: SCBT), the holding company for SCBT, today released its unaudited results of operations and other financial information for the three-month period and year ended December 31, 2012.  Highlights during 2012 include:

 

  • Net income of $5.9 million, or $0.38 diluted EPS, which includes merger-related charges and securities gains, in 4Q 2012 compared to $9.1 million, or $0.60 diluted EPS in 3Q 2012 and $4.8 million, or $0.35 diluted EPS, in 4Q 2011;
  • Diluted EPS for 2012 was up 23.8% compared to 2011, operating diluted EPS for 2012 was up 137.1% compared to 2011;
  • Operating earnings, which excludes merger-related expense and securities gains or losses, of $11.1 million, or $0.72 diluted EPS in 4Q 2012 compared to $9.4 million, or $0.63 diluted EPS in 3Q 2012 and $5.2 million, or $0.37 diluted EPS in 4Q 2011;
  • Completed the merger of The Savannah Bancorp, Inc. (Savannah) during the quarter;
  • Core deposit growth, excluding CDs and the Peoples and Savannah acquisitions, up $64.1 million in the 4Q 2012; 10.5% annualized growth for 4Q 2012;
  • Non-interest bearing deposits are approaching $1.0 billion with the acquisition of Savannah;
  • Operating return on average assets was 0.98% annualized in 4Q 2012 compared to 0.87% in 3Q 2012 and 0.52% in 4Q 2011;
  • Operating efficiency ratio was 62.8% annualized in 4Q 2012 compared to 59.0% in 3Q 2012 and compared to 62.4% in 4Q 2011;
  • Net charge-offs of non-acquired loans decreased to 0.64% annualized for 4Q 2012, compared to 0.85% annualized for 3Q 2012 and 1.08% annualized for 4Q 2011;
  • Non-performing Assets (NPAs):  1.58% of total assets for 4Q 2012 compared to 1.89% for 3Q 2012 and 2.44% for 4Q 2011; 3.13% of loans and repossessed assets, excluding acquired assets, for 4Q 2012 compared to 3.22% for 3Q 2012 and 3.82% for 4Q 2011; and
  • Legacy loan growth for the 4Q 2012 was $53.7 million or 8.5% annualized and for the year legacy loan growth was $100.4 million or 4.1%.

Quarterly Cash Dividend

 

The Board of Directors of SCBT has declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.18 per share payable on its common stock.  This per share amount is equal to the dividend paid in the immediately preceding quarter and is $0.01 per share, or 5.9%, higher than a year ago.  The dividend will be payable on February 22, 2013 to shareholders of record as of February 15, 2013.

 

Fourth Quarter 2012 vs. 2011 Results of Operations

 

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

 

The Company reported consolidated net income of $5.9 million, or $0.38 per diluted share, for the three months ended December 31, 2012 compared to consolidated net income of $4.8 million, or $0.35 per diluted share, for the fourth quarter of 2011.  This $1.1 million increase was the net result of improved net interest income, reduced provision for loan losses, and increases in all categories of customer-oriented noninterest income.  The increases were offset by non-interest expense increases which are primarily due to merger-related expenses from the Savannah acquisition and salary and benefits expense increases.

 

“The performance of SCBT in 2012 was very satisfying.  Our total shareholder return during the year was 41%, which included an increased quarterly dividend of 5.9%,” said Robert R. Hill, Jr., president and CEO.  “While we certainly are pleased with the stock performance, we are most pleased with the strong operating fundamentals and opportunities that are driving this performance.  It was a year with substantially improved credit quality, a stable margin, very strong fee income, record operating earnings, and strong organic and merger growth within our balance sheet, which totaled 31.8%.  One of the most revealing strengths of our company is our strong balance sheet anchored by almost $1.0 billion in noninterest bearing deposits.  Our organic growth, significant new customer growth, and merging with banks that have a strong legacy in their markets and strong customer base, are the reasons for success in this area.  Our earnings per share increased 23.8% for the year and operating earnings, which excludes merger related expenses, increased to a record $2.49 per share, an increase of 137%.  Even with this performance, our operating return on average assets was 0.98% and operating return on average equity was 9.8%.  We believe that both measures have room to improve, and we have the momentum to realize this increase in the coming quarters.”

 

Asset Quality

 

During the fourth quarter of 2012, SCBT experienced significant improvement in asset quality, excluding acquired loans and OREO, as classified assets declined by more than $14.3 million, or 36.4% annualized from the third quarter of 2012.  Loans past due 30-89 days declined by $2.1 million from the third quarter to $7.2 million.  We continue to see meaningful improvement in the trailing average of historical loan losses as the high charge-off quarters from prior periods are being replaced with much lower current loss rates.  Nonperforming assets to total assets declined to 1.58% primarily due to the increase in assets from the Savannah acquisition.  NPAs, excluding acquired NPAs, declined modestly by $650,000 from the third quarter level.  Improvements in asset quality continue as we experience improvement in housing starts (permits), home sales, and lower unemployment rates. 

 

At December 31, 2012, the allowance for non-acquired loan losses was $44.4 million, or 1.73% of non-acquired period-end loans.  The current allowance for loan losses provides .72 times coverage of period-end non-acquired nonperforming loans.  Net charge-offs within the non-acquired loan portfolio decreased to $4.1 million, or 0.64% annualized from $5.3 million, or 0.85% annualized in the third quarter of 2012, and from $6.7 million, or 1.08% annualized in the fourth quarter of 2011.   

 

Non-acquired other real estate owned (“OREO”) decreased by $3.4 million from the 3rd quarter of 2012 and increased by $1.0 million from the fourth quarter of 2011.  During the fourth quarter, the Company wrote down 10 properties by a total of $765,000 compared to 12 properties and $2.1 million in write downs in the third quarter of 2012, and 26 properties and $2.3 million in write downs during the fourth quarter of 2011.

 

Net Interest Income and Margin


Non-taxable equivalent net interest income was $47.9 million for the fourth quarter of 2012, a $1.0 million increase from the third quarter, resulting from the following:

 

  1. Higher balance of average acquired loans (up $81.5 million) and along with credit releases totaling $6.6 million resulted in an increase of $650,000 of interest income on acquired loans; and
  2. A decrease of $275,000 in the company’s overall cost of funds.

 

Taxable-equivalent net interest margin increased 10 basis points from the fourth quarter of 2011 and decreased 15 basis points from the third quarter of 2012 to 4.88%.  The average yield on interest earning assets decreased 17 basis points while the average rate on interest-bearing liabilities declined 24 basis points from the fourth quarter of 2011.  During the fourth quarter of 2012, average total assets increased to $4.5 billion and average earning assets increased to almost $4.0 billion.  This growth in average total assets was supported by growth in average total deposits to $3.7 billion.  At December 31, 2012, non-interest bearing deposits were nearly $1.0 billion.    

Noninterest Income and Expense


Noninterest income was $10.9 million for the fourth quarter of 2012 compared to $9.7 million for the fourth quarter of 2011, an increase of $1.2 million, or 12.8%, due primarily to mortgage banking income which increased $2.3 million due to the impact of continued low interest rate environment on the home mortgage market.  All other noninterest income categories (excluding negative accretion on the indemnification asset and securities gains (losses)) were up a total $2.3 million.  The negative accretion on the indemnification asset related to all FDIC-assisted transactions offset these increases by $3.5 million.  The negative accretion results from the reduction of expected cash flows of this asset related to certain pools of acquired loans which had improved estimated cash flows throughout the year. 

Compared to the third quarter of 2012, noninterest income was up a total of $1.6 million, excluding securities gains (losses).  This increase was led by the following:  (1) mortgage banking income increased $688,000, for the reason noted above; (2) trust and investment services income was up $167,000; and (3) service charges on deposit accounts were up $144,000.  Other income was up $436,000, due primarily to higher recoveries related to acquired loans.

Noninterest expense was $48.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2012, a 31.7% or $11.6 million increase from $36.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2011.  This increase was the result of increased merger- related charges incurred for the Savannah acquisition of $7.1 million, and an increase in salaries and benefits which increased $4.4 million, or 26.1%.  The increase in salary and employee benefits resulted primarily from the addition of new FTEs largely related to the two acquisitions completed during the year.

 

Compared to the third quarter of 2012, noninterest expense increased by $10.1 million.  The increase resulted from merger-related expenses, which increased due to the Savannah acquisition by $7.0 million; and increased salary and benefits of $2.7 million.  The increase in salary and benefits primarily resulted from new FTEs (hired in support areas), incremental addition from the Savannah acquisition, increases in incentive accruals, and increase in the match of 401(k) beginning September 1, 2012.  OREO expense and loan related costs declined $730,000, which was mostly offset by an increase in other expenses of $670,000, which included higher property taxes, higher operational charge offs, secondary mortgage repurchase cost, and higher appraisal cost.

Balance Sheet and Capital

 

At the end of the year, SCBT’s total assets were $5.1 billion, up from $4.3 billion at September 30, 2012, and from $3.9 billion at December 31, 2011.  The increase during the quarter is the result of the Savannah acquisition and $53.7 million in legacy loan growth.  Since the end of 2011, The Company’s balance sheet has grown by more than 31%.  Asset growth is evident in every line item, except OREO and FDIC receivable for loss share agreements, given the two acquisitions.  During the fourth quarter of 2012, the company executed an auction of approximately 175 properties in north Georgia.  With the sale of 970 OREO assets during 2012, our legacy and acquired OREO balance declined from $83.9 million last year to $66.5 million at December 31, 2012.  The inventory of these assets has declined to 432 properties from 900 properties at December 31, 2011.  In addition, the balance in the FDIC receivable account has decreased by $116.5 million from December 31, 2011, to $146.2 million at December 31, 2012.  We expect to collect approximately $14.0 million during the first quarter of 2013 for claims filed through December 31, 2012.  During the quarter and with the acquisition of Savannah, the Company moved to a deferred tax asset position of more than $30.0 million compared to last quarter and year end 2011 when we were in a deferred tax liability position.

 

The Company’s book value per share increased to $29.97 per share at December 31, 2012, compared to $28.71 at September 30, 2012.  Capital increased by $73.6 million due primarily to the issuance of 1.802 million shares of common stock in the acquisition of Savannah which totaled $68.8 million.  Net income of $5.9 million was offset by $2.7 million in dividends paid to our shareholders, and other capital activity of $1.6 million increased shareholders’ equity.  Tangible book value (“TBV”) per share decreased by $0.92 per share to $22.54 at December 31, 2012 from $23.46 at September 30, 2012 due to the Savannah acquisition. 

 

The total risk-based capital ratio is estimated to have declined by 130 basis points from the third quarter of 2012 to 13.9%, due primarily to the addition of the Savannah acquisition and the increase in total risk-weighted assets relative to the increase in total risk-based capital.  Tier 1 leverage ratio increased to 9.8% from 9.3% at September 30, 2012.  The increase for the quarter was the result of closing the Savannah acquisition, and only incrementally increasing total average assets while capital increased by $73.6 million.  The capital ratio will decline in the first quarter of 2013 as the average balance sheet will increase for the Savannah acquisition.  The Company’s capital positions remain “well-capitalized” by all measures at December 31, 2012.

 

“During 2012, we closed on two strategic acquisitions which have grown our asset base to more than $5.1 billion.  Our net interest margin remains strong at 4.88% compared to 5.03% last quarter.  OREO costs remain elevated, but declined this quarter by $730,000 compared to last quarter,” said John C. Pollok, CFO and COO.  “We expect to have the conversion of the Savannah branches fully integrated onto our operating system by the end of the first quarter of 2013.”

                                               

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

 

SCBT Financial Corporation (the “Company”), Columbia, South Carolina is a registered bank holding company incorporated under the laws of South Carolina.  The Company consists of SCBT, the Bank and the following divisions:  NCBT, CBT, The Savannah Bank, Bryan Bank & Trust, and Minis & Co., Inc.  Providing financial services for over 78 years, SCBT Financial Corporation operates 84 locations in 19 South Carolina counties, 10 North Georgia counties, 2 Coastal Georgia counties and Mecklenburg County in North Carolina.  SCBT Financial Corporation has assets of approximately $5.1 billion and its stock is traded under the symbol SCBT in the NASDAQ Global Select Market.  More information can be found at www.SCBTonline.com .

                                                                                   

  

-----

SCBT Financial Corporation will hold a conference call on January 31st at 11 a.m. Eastern Time where management will review earnings and performance trends.  Callers wishing to participate may call toll-free by dialing 866-652-5200.  The number for international participants is 412-317-6060.  The conference ID number is 10021959.  Participants can also listen to the live audio webcast through the Investor Relations section of www.SCBTonline.com.  A replay will be available beginning January 31st by 2:00 pm Eastern Time until 9:00 a.m. on February 15th.  To listen to the replay, dial 877-344-7529 or 412-317-0088.  The passcode is 10021959.

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. Forward looking statements generally include words such as “expects,” “projects,” “anticipates,” “believes,” “intends,” “estimates,” “strategy,” “plan,” “potential,” “possible” and other similar expressions.  SCBT Financial Corporation (“SCBT”) cautions readers that forward looking statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from anticipated results.  Such risks and uncertainties, include, among others, the following possibilities: (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 noninterest expenses; (12) excessive loan losses; (13) failure to realize synergies and other financial benefits from, and to limit liabilities associates with, mergers and acquisitions, including mergers with Peoples Bancorporation (“Peoples”) and The Savannah Bancorp, Inc. (“Savannah”), within the expected time frame; (14) potential deposit attrition, higher than expected costs, customer loss and business disruption associated with the integration of  Peoples and Savannah, including, without limitation, potential difficulties in maintaining relationships with key personnel and other integration related-matters; (15) inability to identify and successfully negotiate and complete additional combinations with potential merger or acquisition partners or to successfully integrate such businesses into SCBT, including the ability to realize the benefits and cost savings from, and limit any unexpected liabilities associated with, any such business combinations; (16) the risks of fluctuations in market prices for SCBT stock that may or may not reflect economic condition or performance of SCBT; (17) the payment of dividends on SCBT is subject to regulatory supervision as well as the discretion of the SCBT board of directors; (18) risks and uncertainties disclosed  in the section titled “Risk Factors” in the SCBT Annual Report on Form 10-K or disclosed in other reports filed from time to time by SCBT  with the SEC; and (19) 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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