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The First Bancshares, Inc. Reports Results for Fourth Quarter ended December 31, 2022; Increases Quarterly Dividend 5%

HATTIESBURG, Miss.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The First Bancshares, Inc. (“FBMS” or “the Company”) (NASDAQ: FBMS), holding company for The First Bank, (www.thefirstbank.com) reported today financial results for the quarter ended December 31, 2022.

Highlights:

  • Effective January 1, 2023, the Company closed its acquisition of Heritage Southeast Bancorporation, Inc., parent company of Heritage Southeast Bank (“Heritage Bank”) based in Jonesboro, Georgia. Heritage Bank will increase the Company’s presence in Southern Georgia as well as provide entry into the fast growing markets of Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia and Jacksonville, Florida. Heritage Bank will add approximately $1.6 billion of assets and twenty four locations. Systems conversion is scheduled for the end of the first quarter of 2023.
  • During the quarter, the Company completed the systems conversion related to the acquisition of Beach Bancorp, Inc., parent of Beach Bank (together with Beach Bancorp, Inc., “Beach Bank”)
  • Net income available to common shareholders totaled $16.3 million for the quarter ended December 31, 2022, representing an increase of $2.3 million, or 16.0%, compared to $14.0 million for the quarter ended September 30, 2022.
  • In the year-over-year comparison, net income available to common shareholders decreased $1.2 million, or 1.9%, from $64.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2021 to $62.9 million for the same period ended December 31, 2022. Over that same period, Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) loan fees decreased $9.8 million.
  • Excluding one-time items detailed in the tables included with this press release, net earnings available to common shareholders, operating (non-GAAP) increased $3.9 million, or 6.1%, to $68.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2022 as compared to $64.4 million for the same period ended December 31, 2021.
  • Total loans, excluding PPP loans, increased 1.5% for the quarter representing net growth of $55.5 million, or 6.0% on an annualized basis, as compared to the quarter ended September 30, 2022.
  • Net Interest Margin FTE increased 23 bps to 3.37% for the quarter ended December 31, 2022 from 3.14% for the quarter ended December 31, 2021.
  • Total nonperforming assets decreased $12.9 million to $17.7 million at December 31, 2022 from $30.6 million at December 31, 2021.

M. Ray “Hoppy” Cole, President and Chief Executive Officer, commented, “2022 was another exceptional year in the history of our Company. We continued to execute on our strategic vision of building a high performing southeastern community bank through a combination of acquisitive and organic growth.

We closed Beach Bank in August 2022 and Heritage Bank effective January 2023, these two acquisitions added approximately $2.3 billion in assets in Florida and Georgia. The acquisitions of Beach Bank and Heritage Southeast strengthened our presence in the Florida panhandle and South Georgia, as well as opened up new markets in Atlanta, Jacksonville and Tampa. In addition to the growth through acquisitions, we also recorded record organic net loan growth of $359.1 million or 12.3% of total loans and a 6.1% increase in net operating income available to common shareholders.

We believe we are well positioned given the strength of our balance sheet and quality of our earnings stream to continue to build substantial value for our shareholders.”

Quarterly Earnings

Net income available to common shareholders totaled $16.3 million for the quarter ended December 31, 2022, an increase of $2.3 million, or 16.0%, compared to $14.0 million for the quarter ended September 30, 2022.

Excluding one-time items detailed in the tables included with this press release, net earnings available to common shareholders, operating (non-GAAP) decreased $2.5 million, or 12.5%, to $17.2 million for quarter ended December 31, 2022 as compared to $19.6 million for the quarter ended September 30, 2022. The decrease in net earnings available to common shareholders resulted in part from $1.5 million in nonaccrual interest income recapture recorded in the quarter ended September 30, 2022 and from expense of $0.7 million incurred in the quarter ended December 31, 2022 related to year end accruals for salaries and benefits.

The Company recorded a provision for loan losses of $0.7 million for the quarter ended December 31, 2022 and $4.3 million for the quarter ended September 30, 2022. The $4.3 million provision in respect of the quarter ended September 30, 2022 included $3.9 million for the CECL day 1 provision for loan losses attributable to the acquired Beach Bank loans.

Earnings Per Share

For the fourth quarter of 2022, fully diluted earnings per share were $0.67, compared to $0.61 for the third quarter of 2022 and $0.75 for the fourth quarter of 2021. The decrease in fully-diluted earnings per share when compared to the same quarter last year was primarily attributable to expenses associated with the acquisition of Beach Bank, and the pending acquisition of Heritage Bank as well as the additional shares issued for the acquisition of Beach Bank.

Fully diluted earnings per share, operating (non-GAAP) were $0.71 for the fourth quarter of 2022 compared to $0.85 for the third quarter of 2022 and $0.76 for the fourth quarter of 2021.

Effective August 1, 2022, the Company issued 3,498,936 shares of its common stock in conjunction with the closing of the acquisition of Beach Bank. Fully diluted earnings per share for the first and second quarters of 2022 were increased in part by the purchase by the Company of 600,000 shares of its common stock during the first quarter of 2022.

Balance Sheet

Consolidated assets increased $6.9 million to $6.462 billion at December 31, 2022 from $6.455 billion at September 30, 2022.

PPP loans at December 31, 2022 were $0.7 million, a decrease of $0.7 million from September 30, 2022, due to loan forgiveness under the PPP program.

Total loans were $3.774 billion for the quarter ended December 31, 2022, as compared to $3.719 billion for the quarter ended September 30, 2022, and $2.960 billion for the quarter ended December 31, 2021, representing an increase of $54.8 million, or 1.5%, for the sequential quarter comparison, and an increase of $814.6 million, or 27.5%, for the prior year quarterly comparison. During August 2022, loans totaling $496.0 million were acquired in the Beach Bank acquisition. PPP loans totaled $0.7 million for the quarter ended December 31, 2022, $1.4 million for the quarter ended September 30, 2022, and $41.1 million for the quarter ended December 31, 2021.

Excluding the PPP loans, total loans increased $55.5 million, or 1.5% as compared to the quarter ended September 30, 2022, or 6.0% on an annualized basis.

Excluding the PPP loans and acquired Beach Bank loans, total loans increased $359.1 million, or 12.3% compared to year-end December 31, 2021.

Total deposits were $5.494 billion for the quarter ended December 31, 2022, as compared to $5.551 billion for the quarter ended September 30, 2022, and $5.227 billion for the quarter ended December 31, 2021, representing a decrease of $56.9 million, or 1.0%, for the sequential quarter comparison, and an increase of $267.6 million, or 5.1%, for the prior year quarterly comparison. During August 2022, deposits totaling $406.9 million were acquired in the Beach Bank acquisition.

Book value per share increased to $26.92 at December 31, 2022 from $25.86 at September 30, 2022.

Tangible book value per share (non-GAAP) increased to $17.97 at December 31, 2022 from $16.93 at September 30, 2022. This increase was the result of the change in accumulated other comprehensive income as well as earnings net of dividends for the quarter. The balance in accumulated other comprehensive income improved $13.1 million to $149.0 million at December 31, 2022 from $162.0 million at September 30, 2022.

Asset Quality

Nonperforming assets totaled $17.7 million at December 31, 2022, a decrease of $9.0 million compared to $26.7 million at September 30, 2022 and a decrease of $12.9 million compared to $30.6 million at December 31, 2021.

Nonaccrual loans totaled $12.6 million, a decrease of $3.3 million as compared to September 30, 2022 and a decrease of $15.4 million as compared to December 31, 2021. During the quarter ended September 30, 2022, one large relationship with a balance of $10.2 million was upgraded to accrual status. This upgrade resulted in $1.5 million in interest income being recognized during the third quarter of 2022.

The ratio of the allowance for credit losses (ACL) to total loans was 1.03% at December 31, 2022, 1.03% at September 30, 2022 and 1.04% at December 31, 2021. The ratio of annualized net charge-offs (recoveries) to total loans was 0.004% for the quarter ended December 31, 2022 compared to (0.04%) for the quarter ended September 30, 2022 and 0.03% for the quarter ended December 31, 2021.

Fourth Quarter 2022 vs Third Quarter 2022 Earnings Comparison

Net income available to common shareholders for the fourth quarter of 2022 increased $2.3 million to $16.3 million compared to $14.0 million for the third quarter of 2022.

Excluding one-time items detailed in the tables included with this press release, net earnings available to common shareholders, operating (non-GAAP) decreased $2.5 million, or 12.5%, to $17.2 million for quarter ended December 31, 2022 as compared to $19.6 million for the quarter ended September 30, 2022. The decrease in net earnings available to common shareholders resulted in part from $1.5 million in nonaccrual interest income recapture recorded in the quarter ended September 30, 2022 and from expense of $0.7 million incurred in the quarter ended December 31, 2022 related to year end accruals for salaries and benefits.

Net interest income for the fourth quarter of 2022 was $47.9 million as compared to $49.1 million for the third quarter of 2022, a decrease of $1.2 million. When adjusted for nonaccrual interest income recaptured during the third quarter of $1.5 million, net interest income actually increased $0.3 million in the quarterly comparison.

Fourth quarter 2022 FTE net interest margin (non-GAAP) of 3.37% included 8 basis points related to purchase accounting adjustments compared to 3.50% for the third quarter in 2022, which included 6 basis points related to purchase accounting adjustment as well as 10 bps related to the $1.5 million in nonaccrual interest income recapture.

Investment securities totaled $1.983 billion, or 30.7% of total assets at December 31, 2022, compared to $2.004 billion, or 31.0% of total assets at September 30, 2022. The average balance of investment securities decreased $114.6 million in sequential-quarter comparison. The average tax equivalent yield on investment securities (non-GAAP) increased 8 basis point to 2.48% from 2.40% in sequential-quarter comparison. The investment portfolio had a net unrealized loss of $161.2 million at December 31, 2022 as compared to a net unrealized loss of $216.9 million at September 30, 2022.

The FTE average yield on all earning assets (non-GAAP) increased in sequential-quarter comparison from 3.83% to 4.06%. Interest expense on average interest bearing liabilities increased 51 basis points from 0.48% for the third quarter of 2022 to 0.99% for the fourth quarter of 2022.

Cost of all deposits averaged 51 basis points for the fourth quarter of 2022 compared to 19 basis points for the third quarter of 2022. This increase was a result of rising interest rates and increased competition for deposits.

Non-interest income decreased $0.9 million from $9.0 million to $8.1 million in the sequential-quarter comparison, attributable to decreases in mortgage income of $0.6 million and interchange fee income of $0.2 million.

Non-interest expense for the fourth quarter of 2022 was $35.0 million compared to $35.9 million for the third quarter of 2022, a decrease of $0.9 million, largely attributed to the decrease in acquisition charges and charter conversion expenses of $2.5 million which was partially offset by $0.9 million in expenses related to the operations of Beach Bank.

Fourth Quarter 2022 vs. Fourth Quarter 2021 Earnings Comparison

Net income available to common shareholders for the fourth quarter of 2022 totaled $16.3 million compared to $15.8 million for the fourth quarter of 2021, an increase of $0.5 million or 3.2%.

Excluding one-time items detailed in the tables included with this press release, net earnings available to common shareholders, operating (non-GAAP) increased $1.2 million, or 7.3%, to $17.2 million for quarter ended December 31, 2022 as compared to $16.0 million for the quarter ended December 31, 2021.

Net interest income for the fourth quarter of 2022 was $47.9 million, an increase of $8.2 million or 20.5% when compared to the fourth quarter of 2021. Fully tax equivalent (“FTE”) net interest income (non-GAAP) totaled $48.9 million and $40.4 million for the fourth quarter of 2022 and 2021, respectively. Purchase accounting adjustments increased $0.2 million for the fourth quarter comparisons.

Fourth quarter of 2022 FTE net interest margin (non-GAAP) was 3.37% which included 8 basis points related to purchase accounting adjustments compared to 3.14% for the same quarter in 2021, which included 7 basis points related to purchase accounting adjustments. Excluding the purchase accounting adjustments, the core net interest margin (non-GAAP) increased 22 basis point in prior year quarterly comparison primarily due to an increase in average loans and investment securities as well as interest rate increases.

Non-interest income decreased $1.5 million for the fourth quarter of 2022 as compared to the fourth quarter of 2021. This decrease was attributable to a $0.9 million decrease in mortgage income as well as a $1.3 million bargain purchase gain recorded in the fourth quarter of 2021.

Fourth quarter 2022 non-interest expense was $35.0 million, an increase of $4.3 million, or 13.8% as compared to the fourth quarter of 2021. For the fourth quarter of 2022, charges related to the ongoing operations of the Cadence Bank branches totaled $0.7 million and Beach Bank totaled $3.0 million.

Investment securities totaled $1.983 billion, or 30.7% of total assets at December 31, 2022, compared to $1.774 billion, or 29.2% of total assets at December 31, 2021. For the fourth quarter of 2022 compared to the fourth quarter of 2021, the average balance of investment securities increased $412.3 million. The average tax equivalent yield on investment securities (non-GAAP) increased 51 basis points to 2.48% from 1.97% in the prior year quarterly comparison. The investment portfolio had a net unrealized loss of $161.2 million at December 31, 2022 as compared to a net unrealized gain of $10.7 million at December 31, 2021.

The FTE average yield on all earning assets (non-GAAP) increased 60 basis points in prior year quarterly comparison, from 3.46% for the fourth quarter of 2021 to 4.06% for the fourth quarter of 2022. Interest expense on average interest bearing liabilities increased 51 basis points from 0.48% for the fourth quarter of 2021 to 0.99% for the fourth quarter of 2022.

Cost of all deposits averaged 51 basis points for the fourth quarter of 2022 compared to 19 basis points for the fourth quarter of 2021. This increase was a result of rising interest rates and increased competition for deposits.

Year-over-Year Earnings Comparison

In the year-over-year comparison, net income available to common shareholders decreased $1.2 million, or 1.9%, from $64.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2021 to $62.9 million for the same period ended December 31, 2022. In the year-over-year comparison, PPP loan fee income decreased $9.8 million.

Excluding one-time items detailed in the tables included with this press release, net earnings available to common shareholders, operating (non-GAAP) increased $3.9 million, or 6.1%, to $68.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2022 as compared to $64.4 million for the same period ended December 31, 2021.

Net interest income after provision for credit losses was $172.2 million for the twelve months ended December 31, 2022, an increase of $14.0 million as compared to the same period ended December 31, 2021, primarily due to interest income earned on a higher volume of loans and securities and increased interest rates.

Non-interest income was $37.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2022, a decrease of $0.5 million as compared to the same period ended December 31, 2021. Increased service charges on deposit accounts and interchange fee income of $2.5 million was offset by a decrease in mortgage income of $4.5 million.

Non-interest expense was $130.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2022, an increase of $15.9 million as compared to the same period ended December 31, 2021. An increase of $4.8 million in acquisition and charter conversion charges and $3.3 million related to the ongoing operations of the Cadence Bank branches and $5.1 million related to the Beach Bank branch operations accounted for the increase in non-interest expense.

Declaration of Cash Dividend

The Company announced that its Board of Directors declared a cash dividend of $0.21 per share, a 5% increase over previous quarter, to be paid on its common stock on February 24, 2023 to shareholders of record as of the close of business on February 8, 2023.

Conference Call

The Company will host a conference call for analysts and investors to discuss the Company’s financial results at 9:30 a.m. Central Time on Thursday, January 26, 2023. Investors and analysts may participate by clicking on the Participant Conference Link: https://register.vevent.com/register/BI8f25f7d93b164314bb9ed2b26dcd36a1. An audio archive of the conference call along with the transcript will be available within 24-48 hours after the call and placed in the Investor Relations section of our website.

About The First Bancshares, Inc.

The First Bancshares, Inc., headquartered in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, is the parent company of The First Bank (“The First”). Founded in 1996, The First has operations in Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Florida and Georgia. The Company’s stock is traded on the NASDAQ Global Market under the symbol FBMS. Information is available on the Company’s website: www.thefirstbank.com.

Non-GAAP Financial Measures

Our accounting and reporting policies conform to generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP”) in the United States and prevailing practices in the banking industry. However, certain non-GAAP measures are used by management to supplement the evaluation of our performance. This press release includes pre-tax, pre-provision operating earnings, FTE net interest income, FTE net interest margin, core net interest margin, average tax equivalent yield on investment securities, FTE average yield on all earning assets, total tangible common equity, tangible book value per common share, net earnings available to common shareholders, operating, diluted earnings per share, efficiency ratio, operating and certain ratios derived from these non-GAAP financial measures. The Company believes that the non-GAAP financial measures included in this press release allow management and investors to understand and compare results in a more consistent manner for the periods presented in this press release. Non-GAAP financial measures should be considered supplemental and not a substitute for the Company’s results reported in accordance with GAAP for the periods presented, and other bank holding companies may define or calculate these measures differently. These non-GAAP financial measures should not be considered in isolation and do not purport to be an alternative to net income, earnings per share, net interest income, book value, net earnings available to common shareholders, diluted earnings per share, efficiency ratio, or other GAAP financial measures as a measure of operating performance. A reconciliation of these non-GAAP financial measures to the most comparable GAAP measure is provided in this press release following the Condensed Consolidated Financial Information (unaudited).

Forward Looking Statements

This news release and certain of our other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission contain statements that constitute “forward looking statements” within the meaning of, and subject to the protections of, Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended.

All statements other than statements of historical fact are forward-looking statements. Such statements can generally be identified by such words as “believes,” “anticipates,” “expects,” “may,” “will,” “assumes,” “should,” “predicts,” “could,” “would,” “intends,” “targets,” “estimates,” “projects,” “plans,” “potential,” “positioned” and other similar words and expressions of the future or otherwise regarding the outlook for the Company’s future business and financial performance and/or the performance of the banking industry and economy in general. Prospective investors are cautioned that any such forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve known and unknown risk and uncertainties which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of the Company to be materially different from the future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are based on the information known to, and current beliefs and expectations of, the Company’s management and are subject to significant risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ materially from those contemplated by such forward-looking statements. Factors that might cause such differences include, but are not limited to: (1) competitive pressures among financial institutions increasing significantly; (2) prevailing, or changes in, economic or political conditions, either nationally or locally, particularly in areas in which the Company conducts operations, including the effects of declines in the real estate market, high unemployment rates, inflationary pressure, elevated interest rates and slowdowns in economic growth, as well as the financial stress on borrowers as a result of the foregoing; (3) interest rate risk, including the effects of rising interest rates; (4) developments in our mortgage banking business, including loan modifications, general demand, and the effects of judicial or regulatory requirements or guidance; (5) changes in applicable laws, rules, or regulations; (6) risks related to the Company’s recently completed and pending acquisitions, including that the anticipated benefits from the recently completed acquisitions are not realized in the time frame anticipated or at all as a result of changes in general economic and market conditions or other unexpected factors or events; (7) changes in management’s plans for the future; (8) credit risk associated with our lending activities; (9) changes in loan demand, real estate values, or competition; (10) changes in accounting principles, policies, or guidelines; (11) adverse results from current or future litigation, regulatory examinations or other legal and/or regulatory actions, including as a result of the Company’s participation in and execution of government programs related to the COVID-19 pandemic and related variants; (12) higher inflation and its impacts; (13) significant turbulence or disruption in the capital or financial markets and the effect of a fall in stock market prices on our investment securities; (14) the effects of war or other conflicts including the impacts relating to or resulting from Russia’s military action in Ukraine; and (15) other general competitive, economic, political, and market factors, including those affecting our business, operations, pricing, products, or services.

Contacts

For additional information, contact:

M. Ray “Hoppy” Cole

Chief Executive Officer

Dee Dee Lowery

Chief Financial Officer

(601) 268-8998

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