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Simmons Bank’s earnings up on sale of Visa shares

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Simmons First National Corp. (Nasdaq: SFNC) produced a better third quarter bottom line — brought on, in part, by the sale of shares held in another company.

The Pine Bluff, Arkansas-based operator of six Simmons Bank branches in Springfield produced net income of $81.8 million for the quarter ended Sept. 30. That’s up 48% from $55.2 million a year earlier. Diluted share earnings rose to 84 cents from 59 cents in third quarter 2018, according to a news release.

During the quarter, Simmons Bank sold Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) common stock for a gain of $42.9 million. Of that, $4 million was contributed to the Simmons First Foundation to provide community development grants throughout the company’s footprint.

Third quarter financial notes for Simmons Bank:
• Net interest income rose 5% to $150.2 million.
• Salaries and employee benefits were down 6% to $52 million.
• In the quarterly earnings report, Simmons announced its board approved a new $60 million stock repurchase program.

As of Sept. 30, Simmons held $17.8 billion in assets and $13.5 billion in deposits, according to the release.

SFNC shares were trading at $24.32 as of 11 a.m., compared with a 52-week range of $22.08 to $29.60.

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