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Hancock's quarterly earnings up, annual earnings down

GULFPORT — Hancock Holding Company has announced financial results for the fourth quarter and year ended Dec. 31, 2010.

For the fourth quarter of 2010 net income increased 14.6 percent over the preceding third quarter of 2010 to $17 million and advanced 27.9 percent over the 2009’s fourth quarter, excluding certain non-recurring merger items associated with that quarter’s acquisition of Peoples First Community Bank. Fully diluted earnings per share for the fourth quarter of 2010 were $0.46, compared to $0.40 for the 2010’s third quarter and $0.37 for the same quarter a year ago, excluding merger related items. Hancock’s return on average assets increased to 0.83 percent for the fourth quarter of 2010, from 0.70 percent for 2010’s third quarter.

Net income for the full 2010 year amounted to $52.2 million, down 7.3 percent from 2009’s net income of $56.3 million, excluding merger related items. Diluted earnings per share for 2010 were $1.40, versus $1.70 last year, excluding merger related items.  Hancock’s return on average assets for 2010 was 0.62 percent and 0.80 percent for 2009, excluding merger related items.  The company’s pre-tax, pre-provision income for 2010 increased 6.4 percent to $142.9 million over the prior year period.  Pre-tax pre-provision income is total revenue less non-interest expense and excludes one-time merger items and securities transactions.

On Dec. 22, 2010, Hancock Holding Company entered into a definitive agreement with Whitney Holding Corporation, parent company of New Orleans-based Whitney Bank, for Whitney to merge into Hancock. The transaction is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2011, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approval. Following the merger, Hancock expects to retain its strong capital position after an expected common stock raise of approximately $200 million, and anticipates repurchasing all of Whitney’s TARP preferred stock and warrants held by the U.S. Treasury, subject to regulatory approval.

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