BancorpSouth Announces Quarterly Dividend Increase to $0.05 per Share
PR Newswire

TUPELO, Miss., Aug. 28, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The BancorpSouth, Inc. (NYSE: BXS) Board of Directors declared today a quarterly cash dividend of $0.05 per common share, which is a $0.04 per share or 400 percent increase over the Company's previous quarterly dividend payment of $0.01 per common share. The dividend is payable October 1, 2013 to shareholders of record at the close of business on September 13, 2013.

Dan Rollins, Chief Executive Officer of BancorpSouth, commented, "We are very pleased to announce this increased payment to our shareholders; a level of payment that is consistent with current industry dividend payout ratios, which measure the size of a dividend payment compared to the company's net income.  As shareholders, our Board has clearly understood and shared the desire to enhance our dividend and return more capital to our shareholders.  Our decision reflects the confidence that we have in the strength of our enterprise risk management system, the strength of our core capital base, and the belief that our strategic plan will continue to produce profitable growth."

The $0.05 per share payment is the first increase in the Company's cash dividend since the reduction of the quarterly payment to $0.01 per share in the second quarter of 2011.

CEO Dan Rollins continued, "I am encouraged with the progress made through the first half of this year towards our efforts to improve our efficiency and expense control, our continued progress in improving asset quality, and our revenue growth opportunities as we continue to emphasize to our people the importance of growth, both in our loan portfolio and in our lines of business."

At the end of the second quarter 2013, the Company achieved quarter-over-quarter loan growth for the first time in three years, while the Company's earnings benefitted from strong performances from a wide range of noninterest lines of business.  The Company's insurance brokerage division is presently the fourth largest bank-owned agency in the country according to the recently published Michael White Bank Insurance Fee Income Report, and its mortgage division continues to produce solid origination volume despite the industry headwinds produced by declining refinance activity.

Commenting on BancorpSouth's on-going efficiency initiatives, Rollins said, "We remain committed to lowering our cost structure, as evidenced by the recently announced Voluntary Early Retirement Program and the $125 million trust preferred securities redemption that was completed earlier this month. The retirement program is expected to result in fully phased-in annual pre-tax savings of approximately $9 million, or $0.06 per share net of tax. The trust preferred redemption is expected to result in an annual reduction of interest expense of approximately $9 million, or $0.06 per share net of tax."

"Our executive management team recently completed a series of 20 meetings over the course of three weeks traveling throughout BancorpSouth's 8-state footprint meeting with our lenders, producers, managers, and support staff to communicate and discuss face-to-face our strategic focus and key objectives that are critical to moving our Company forward. With a customer-focused community bank business model and a comprehensive line of financial products, our team is energized, enthusiastic and focused on growing our Company and enhancing shareholder value," concluded Rollins.

BancorpSouth reported net income of $20.8 million or $0.22 per diluted share for the second quarter of 2013.

BancorpSouth, Inc. is a financial holding company headquartered in Tupelo, Mississippi, with $13.2 billion in assets.  BancorpSouth Bank, a wholly-owned subsidiary of BancorpSouth, Inc., operates 292 commercial banking, mortgage, insurance, trust and broker/dealer locations in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee and Texas, including an insurance location in Illinois.

Forward-Looking Statements

Certain statements contained in this news release may not be based on historical facts and are "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended.  These forward-looking statements may be identified by their reference to a future period or periods or by the use of forward-looking terminology such as "anticipate," "believe," "estimate," "expect," "may," "might," "will," "would," "could" or "intend."  These forward-looking statements include, without limitation, statements relating to expense savings related to the retirement program, interest expense reduction related to the redemption of the trust preferred securities, the strength of our enterprise risk management system, the strength of our core capital base, and the ability of our strategic plan to produce profitable growth.  

We caution you not to place undue reliance on the forward-looking statements contained in this news release in that actual results could differ materially from those indicated in such forward-looking statements because of a variety of factors.  These factors may include, but are not limited to, conditions in the financial markets and economic conditions generally, the adequacy of the Company's provision and allowance for credit losses to cover actual credit losses, the credit risk associated with real estate construction, acquisition and development loans, losses resulting from the significant amount of the Company's other real estate owned, limitations on the Company's ability to declare and pay dividends, the impact of legal or administrative proceedings, the availability of capital on favorable terms if and when needed, liquidity risk, governmental regulation, including the Dodd Frank Act, and supervision of the Company's operations, the short-term and long-term impact of changes to banking capital standards on the Company's regulatory capital and liquidity, the impact of regulations on service charges on the Company's core deposit accounts, the susceptibility of the Company's business to local economic or environmental conditions, the soundness of other financial institutions, changes in interest rates, the impact of monetary policies and economic factors on the Company's ability to attract deposits or make loans, volatility in capital and credit markets, reputational risk, the impact of hurricanes or other adverse weather events, any requirement that the Company write down goodwill or other intangible assets, diversification in the types of financial services the Company offers, the Company's ability to adapt its products and services to evolving industry standards and consumer preferences, competition with other financial services companies, risks in connection with completed or potential acquisitions, the Company's growth strategy, interruptions or breaches in the Company's information system security, the failure of certain third party vendors to perform, unfavorable ratings by rating agencies, dilution caused by the Company's issuance of any additional shares of its common stock to raise capital or acquire other banks, bank holding companies, financial holding companies and insurance agencies, other factors generally understood to affect the financial results of financial services companies and other factors detailed from time to time in the Company's press releases and filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. 

SOURCE BancorpSouth, Inc.