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Hancock to offer common shares

GULFPORT — Hancock Holding Company has commenced an underwritten registered public offering of approximately $150 million in common stock.

Hancock Holding Company intends to grant the underwriters an option to purchase up to an additional 15 percent of the shares sold to cover over-allotments, if any.

Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Inc. and Morgan Stanley are acting as joint lead book-running managers. Sterne Agee & Leach, Stifel Nicolaus & Co. and FIG Partners will serve as co-managers.

The shares will be issued pursuant to a prospectus supplement filed as part of a shelf registration statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Form S-3. The company intends to use the net proceeds from this offering for general corporate purposes, which may include financing acquisition opportunities.

In a separate item, Hancock Holding reports net income for the quarter ended Sept. 30 was $15.2 million, an increase of $1.5 million, or 10.7 percent, compared to $13.7 million for the second quarter of 2009.

Compared to the third quarter of 2008, net income was down $0.8 million, or 4.9 percent.

Diluted earnings per share for the third quarter of 2009 were $0.47, an increase of $0.04 from the second quarter and a decrease of $0.03 from the same quarter a year ago.

The primary drivers of the improvement in Hancock’s third quarter net income were lower provisions for loan losses and an expanding net interest margin.

Hancock Holding president and CEO Carl J. Chaney said, “Hancock recently celebrated the company’s 110th anniversary, and as such, we are reminded of the core values that define us. Those core values have been invaluable in guiding us through the worse financial crisis since the Great Depression and have helped position us for the opportunities that lie ahead. We are pleased with the third quarter results, especially the core improvements in asset quality and net interest margin.”

Net income for the first nine months of 2009 was $43 million, a decrease of $14.1 million, or 24.6 percent, compared to the first nine months of 2008. Diluted earnings per share for the first nine months of 2009 were $1.34, compared to $1.79 per share for the first nine months of 2008.

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