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Ameris Bancorp's (ABCB) CEO Edwin Hortman on Q1 2016 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Q1 2016 Earnings Conference Call

April 21, 2016 11:00 AM ET

Executives

Dennis J. Zember Jr. - EVP and CFO

Edwin W. Hortman Jr. - President and CEO

Analysts

Tyler Stafford - Stephens, Inc.

Casey Orr - Sandler O’Neill

Christopher Marinac - FIG Partners

Patrick O'Brien - Eaton Vance

Nancy Bush - NAB Research

Operator

Good morning and welcome to the Ameris Bancorp’s First Quarter Financial Results Conference Call. All participants will be in listen-only mode. [Operator Instructions] After today’s presentation there will be an opportunity to ask questions. [Operator Instructions] Please note this event is being recorded.

I would now like to turn the conference over to Mr. Zember. Please go ahead.

Dennis J. Zember Jr.

Thank you, Aaronson, and thank you to all of you for joining us today on the call. During the call we’ll be referencing the press release and the financial highlights that are available within the Investor Relations section of our website at amerisbank.com, as well as on the SEC’s website. Ed Hortman, President and CEO and myself will be the presenters today and available after our comments to answer any specific questions you might have.

Before we begin I’ll remind you that our comments may include forward-looking statements. These statements are subject to risks and uncertainties. The actual results could vary materially. We list some of the factors that might cause results to differ materially in our press release and in our SEC filings, which are available on our website. We do not assume any obligation to update forward-looking statements as a result of new information, early developments or otherwise, except as maybe required by law.

Also during the call we will discuss certain non-GAAP financial measures in reference to the company’s performance. We’ve included a reconciliation of these measures and our GAAP financial measures in the appendix to our presentation. And with that I’ll turn it over now to Ed Hortman.

Edwin W. Hortman Jr.

Thank you Dennis, and good morning to everyone and thank you for taking the time to join our first quarter earnings call. I will highlight a few items on our quarter results and provide an update on our recent acquisitions of Jacksonville Bancorp.

First about our results; we had a good start to the year, reporting operating earnings of $0.50 per share, up 56% from the $0.32 per share that we reported in the same quarter in 2015. Total operating earnings for the quarter were $16.5 million, which is an increase of 68% from the same quarter in 2015. It’s important to note that Q1 is the first quarter that includes the fully integrated results of the two acquisitions that we made last year.

Our operating earnings for the quarter, excluded the costs associated with the merger of Jacksonville Bancorp, which totaled $4.1 million after tax. These amounts include investment banker and attorney fees, severance costs associated with integration of the back office functions, lease termination cost and other miscellaneous cost. We believe we've fully recognized the recognized cost associated with the Jacksonville Bank and we don't anticipate any material amounts in future quarters associated with this transaction. When including the merger cost our earnings only grew 26% to $12.3 million, when compared to the same quarter in 2015, and earnings per share increased 18% to $0.37 per share.

On an operating basis, our return on assets increased to 1.18 %in the first quarter compared to 97 basis points in the same period last year. Our return on tangible capital increased to 15.4% in the first quarter of this year, compared to 10.4% in the first quarter of 2015. The increase in both ROA and ROTCE are driven by having our liquidity position almost fully deployed, strong growth in net income from our lines of business and improved operating efficiency in our core bank. I want to credit our outstanding bankers with achieving this kind of top quartile operating performance. We built a model that will deliver top quartile results in an extended low interest rate environment.