EX-99.1 2 pressrelease.htm PRESS RELEASE pressrelease.htm


 



 
                                                                                               
 
 
 
News Release
For more information contact:
Dennis J. Zember Jr.
Executive Vice President & CFO
(229) 890-1111




AMERIS BANCORP REPORTS NET INCOME FOR 2007

January 24, 2007

AMERIS BANCORP (NASDAQ-GS: ABCB), Moultrie, Georgia, reported net income of $15.2 million, or $1.11 per share, for the year ended December 31, 2007, compared to net income in 2006 of $22.1 million, or $1.68 per share.  Net income for the fourth quarter of 2007 was $1.2 million or $0.09 per share compared to $5.8 million or $0.43 per share in the fourth quarter of 2006.

Ameris Bancorp’s performance in 2007 was highlighted by the following significant items:

·  
Exceeded forecasts for loans and deposits in South Carolina in first year of expansion strategy in that state.

·  
Completed consolidation of backroom operations across our four-state footprint.

·  
Revenue growth of 7.6% despite negative pressures from interest rate environment and industry trends on service charges.

·  
Containment of operating expenses despite substantial start-up costs associated with expansion efforts.

·  
Increased provision for loan losses required due to deteriorating real estate environments along coastal areas of Florida.

Exceeded first year goals associated with South Carolina expansion strategy
Ameris Bank’s five-year strategy to build a significant statewide bank in South Carolina started successfully in 2007 beating the Company’s goals across the board.  Loans and deposits grew substantially to $153.5 million and $159.4 million, respectively, during 2007.  Exceptional talent was recruited in Charleston, Hilton Head and Columbia, with roster of bankers in South Carolina growing to 60 at December 31, 2007.  Net operating losses were less than expected for several reasons, including higher levels of net interest income and mortgage fees than originally forecasted.  Total net operating losses associated with the South Carolina strategy in 2007 were $0.10 per share, which compares favorably with the $0.13 per share amount that was initially forecasted.  The Company’s commitment to allowing experienced bankers to be the decision makers in their communities continues to attract talent and provides management with confidence that future expansion plans will be successful and significantly accretive to investors.

Completed centralization of all backroom operations across our four-state footprint
Centralization of The Company’s backroom operations was necessary to provide exceptional, uniform customer service across our expanding footprint.  In addition, the profitability of future growth will be maximized when incremental growth in operating expense is concentrated in bankers dealing with customers.  All centers were completely operational with trained staff as of December 31, 2007.  Commenting on the efforts to complete this important effort, Edwin W. Hortman, President and CEO, said “Change is never easy but our Company’s leadership and employees have embraced the opportunity to restructure.  In 2006 we collapsed 15 charters and adopted a single brand.  In 2007, our Company took the next step and moved to centralized operations for loans and deposits.  As I look back over the last two years, I’m encouraged that the difficult decisions have been made and our Company continues to evolve into a high-performing, growth oriented community bank.”

Strong revenue growth despite negative pressures
Recurring total revenue (net interest income and non-interest income) grew 7.6% during 2007 to $92.6 million.  The net interest income component of total revenue grew 6.7% to $74.6 million in 2007.  Loan growth of $171.1 million or 11.9% during 2007 was the primary factor behind the growth in net interest income and more than offset the negative pressures from declining net interest margins.  The Company’s net interest margin in 2007 declined to 4.02% from 4.27% in 2006 as the industry dealt with historically thin spreads and flat to inverted interest rate environments.  Declines in margins and spreads during 2007 began to moderate as the year ended, and management remains confident that the Company’s pricing disciplines will enable the Company to take advantage of opportunities to widen spreads as the interest rate environment allows.

The non-interest income component of total revenue grew 11.7% to $18.3 million in 2007 (excluding gains on sales of charters in 2006 and losses on investment sales in both years). Service charges and fees on deposit accounts grew 7.9% to $12.5 million as the Company increased certain fees and charges.  In addition, the Company significantly increased the number of low-cost deposit accounts in every market.  Mortgage origination and related fees increased substantially during 2007 as the Company more than doubled its sales force, mostly in the last half of 2007.  While total revenue from mortgage related activities increased 40.1% to $3.1 million during 2007, contribution to net earnings was limited due to various start-up costs.

 
-1-

 
Trends in operating expenses
Total operating expenses grew 10.9% in 2007 to $58.9 million compared to $53.1 million in 2006.  Several factors impacted operating expenses in 2007, the largest factor being the Company’s South Carolina initiative, which accounted for approximately $4.5 million in incremental costs during 2007.  Equipment and occupancy expenses increased approximately 9.3% to $7.5 million as additional offices in South Carolina and Florida were opened in 2007. Advertising-related expenses in 2007 increased approximately $460,000 to $2.1 million as the Company expanded its marketing in existing markets and promoted itself in new markets. Marketing costs are not expected to moderate or fall in 2008 as the Company has planned events surrounding openings in several new markets across its footprint and increased marketing around mortgage and treasury services.

Trends in credit quality
Decreases in credit quality, particularly in the second half of 2007, were significant enough to mitigate improvements elsewhere in the Company.   The majority of the decline, as well as the resulting provisions and net charge-offs resulted from declines in the values of real estate collateral along the coastal areas of north Florida.  Provisions for loan loss in the fourth quarter of 2007 amounted to $6.9 million compared to $713,000 in the same quarter of 2006.  For the year, Ameris Bank recorded $11.3 million in total provision for loan loss, a significant increase over the $2.8 million recorded in 2006.  Net charge-offs in 2007 amounted to 0.53% of average loans compared to 0.10% in 2006.

At December 31, 2007, non-performing assets amounted to $26.0 million or 1.60% of total loans compared to 1.38% of total loans at September 30, 2007.  Other real estate increased approximately $4.5 million during the linked quarter as the Company foreclosed on several larger properties which are being marketed aggressively.  The Company’s reserve for loan losses at December 31, 2007 was $27.6 million or 1.71% of total loans, compared to $24.9 million and 1.72%, respectively, at December 31, 2006.
 
Ameris Bancorp is headquartered in Moultrie, Georgia, and has 46 locations in Georgia, Alabama, northern Florida and South Carolina.
 
********************************************************************************************
 
Ameris Bancorp Common Stock is quoted on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol “ABCB”. The preceding release contains statements that constitute “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. The words “believe”, “estimate”, “expect”, “intend”, “anticipate” and similar expressions and variations thereof identify certain of such forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the dates which they were made. The Company undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise. Readers are cautioned that any such forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve risks and uncertainties, and that actual results may differ materially from those indicated in the forward-looking statements as a result of various factors. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements.


 
-2-

 


AMERIS BANCORP
FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS
(unaudited)
(dollars in thousands except per share data and FTE headcount)
                                           
                                           
                                           
                                           
                                           
   
Three Months Ended
 
Twelve Months Ended
 
   
Dec.
   
Sept
   
June
   
Mar.
   
Dec.
   
Dec
   
Dec
 
   
2007
   
2007
   
2007
   
2007
   
2006
   
2007
   
2006
 
                                           
                                           
EARNINGS
                                         
Net Income
  $ 1,207     $ 3,570     $ 5,373     $ 5,024     $ 5,758     $ 15,172     $ 22,127  
                                                         
PER COMMON SHARE DATA
                                                       
Earnings per share:
                                                       
Basic
    0.09       0.26       0.40       0.37       0.44       1.13       1.71  
Diluted
    0.09       0.26       0.39       0.37       0.43       1.11       1.68  
Cash Dividends per share
    0.14       0.14       0.14       0.14       0.14       0.56       0.56  
Book value per share (period end)
    14.06       13.93       13.60       13.51       13.24       14.06       13.19  
Tangible book value per share (period end)
    9.67       9.51       9.16       9.06       8.73       9.67       8.73  
Weighted average number of shares:
                                                       
Basic
    13,485,765       13,501,663       13,485,683       13,443,850       13,044,493       13,479,240       13,001,333  
Diluted
    13,573,626       13,620,069       13,663,072       13,667,509       13,269,289       13,631,069       13,288,633  
Period-end number of shares
    13,539,985       13,539,195       13,541,476       13,527,520       13,553,002       13,539,985       13,553,002  
Market data:
                                                       
High closing price
    18.67       23.05       25.58       27.73       28.99       27.73       28.99  
Low closing price
    13.73       17.72       21.76       23.11       25.77       13.73       19.26  
Period end closing price
    16.85       18.08       22.47       24.33       28.18       16.85       28.18  
Average daily volume
    51,604       50,547       38,941       41,130       23,016       45,615       24,502  
                                                         
PERFORMANCE RATIOS
                                                       
Return on average assets
    0.23 %     0.68 %     1.06 %     1.01 %     1.17 %     0.74 %     1.22 %
Return on average equity
    2.50 %     7.56 %     11.64 %     11.22 %     13.51 %     8.14 %     13.90 %
Earning asset yield (TE)
    7.65 %     7.87 %     7.80 %     7.85 %     7.64 %     7.79 %     7.53 %
Total cost of funds
    3.79 %     3.90 %     3.84 %     3.79 %     3.65 %     3.83 %     3.29 %
Net interest margin (TE)
    3.91 %     4.03 %     4.03 %     4.10 %     4.03 %     4.02 %     4.27 %
Non-interest income excluding securities transactions,
                                                       
as a percent of total revenue (TE)
    10.91 %     11.04 %     11.34 %     11.29 %     17.02 %     11.14 %     13.64 %
Efficiency ratio
    67.15 %     64.08 %     59.98 %     62.96 %     62.66 %     63.55 %     59.55 %
                                                         
CAPITAL ADEQUACY
                                                       
Equity to assets
    9.03 %     8.97 %     8.98 %     8.97 %     8.73 %     9.03 %     8.73 %
Tangible common equity to assets
    6.39 %     6.30 %     6.24 %     6.20 %     5.95 %     6.39 %     5.95 %
                                                         
OTHER PERIOD-END DATA
                                                       
FTE Headcount
    620       621       604       600       600       620       600  
Assets per FTE
  $ 3,402     $ 3,387     $ 3,393     $ 3,394     $ 3,413     $ 3,402     $ 3,413  
Branch locations
    46       47       46       46       44       46       44  
Deposits per branch location
  $ 38,201     $ 36,337     $ 36,852     $ 37,228     $ 38,867     $ 38,201     $ 38,867  

 
-3-

 

AMERIS BANCORP
 
FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS
 
(unaudited)
 
(dollars in thousands except per share data and FTE headcount)
 
                                           
   
Three Months Ended
   
Twelve Months Ended
 
   
Dec.
   
Sept
   
June
   
Mar.
   
Dec.
   
Dec
   
Dec
 
   
2007
   
2007
   
2007
   
2007
   
2006
   
2007
   
2006
 
                                           
                                           
INCOME STATEMENT
                                         
                                           
Interest income
                                         
Interest and fees on loans
  $ 33,057     $ 33,479     $ 31,573     $ 30,760     $ 29,175     $ 128,869     $ 107,559  
Interest on taxable securities
    3,476       3,480       3,434       3,337       3,032       13,727       12,147  
Interest on nontaxable securities
    158       175       176       179       174       688       555  
Interest on deposits in other banks
    239       317       659       1,042       1,626       2,256       3,589  
Interest on federal funds sold
    -       -       1       91       73       92       261  
Total interest income
    36,930       37,451       35,843       35,410       34,080       145,632       124,111  
                                                         
Interest expense
                                                       
Interest on deposits
    15,758       15,877       15,540       15,205       14,392       62,380       45,599  
Interest on federal funds purchased and securities
                                                       
  sold under agreements to repurchase
    154       43       34       59       62       290       180  
Interest on other borrowings
    2,213       2,450       1,939       1,727       1,713       8,329       8,371  
Total interest expense
    18,125       18,370       17,513       16,991       16,167       70,999       54,150  
                                                         
Net interest income
    18,804       19,081       18,330       18,419       17,913       74,633       69,961  
                                                         
Provision for loan losses
    6,914       2,964       936       507       713       11,321       2,837  
                                                         
Net interest income after provision for loan losses
    11,891       16,117       17,394       17,911       17,200       63,312       67,124  
                                                         
Noninterest income
                                                       
Service charges on deposit accounts
    3,322       3,197       3,066       2,870       3,665       12,455       11,538  
Mortgage banking activity
    827       783       799       683       639       3,093       2,208  
Other non-interest income
    364       680       769       972       2,718       2,785       5,824  
Gain(loss) on sale of securities
    (236 )     (69 )     8       -       -       (297 )     (308 )
Total noninterest income
    4,278       4,591       4,642       4,525       7,023       18,036       19,262  
                                                         
Noninterest expense
                                                       
Salaries and employee benefits
    7,182       7,438       7,492       7,732       7,445       29,844       27,043  
Equipment and occupancy expense
    2,005       1,757       1,718       1,676       2,281       7,156       6,836  
Amortization of intangible assets
    325       324       324       324       322       1,298       1,107  
Other operating expenses
    5,989       5,650       4,245       4,712       5,577       20,596       18,143  
Total noninterest expense
    15,501       15,170       13,779       14,444       15,626       58,894       53,129  
                                                         
Operating Profit
    668       5,539       8,257       7,992       8,597       22,454       33,256  
                                                         
Provision for income taxes
    (539 )     1,969       2,884       2,968       2,838       7,282       11,129  
                                                         
Net Income
  $ 1,207     $ 3,570     $ 5,373     $ 5,024     $ 5,759     $ 15,172     $ 22,127  
                                                         
Diluted earnings per share
    0.09       0.26       0.39       0.37       0.43       1.11       1.68  

 
-4-

 


AMERIS BANCORP
FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS
(unaudited)
(dollars in thousands except per share data and FTE headcount)
                               
                               
   
Dec.
   
Sept.
   
June
   
Mar.
   
Dec.
 
   
2007
   
2007
   
2007
   
2007
   
2006
 
                               
PERIOD-END BALANCE SHEET
                             
                               
Assets
                             
Cash and due from banks
  $ 59,804     $ 58,281     $ 50,328     $ 49,640     $ 66,856  
Federal funds sold & interest bearing balances
    12,022       22,910       16,342       94,496       135,232  
Securities available for sale, at fair value
    291,170       301,977       300,642       300,322       283,192  
                                         
Loans
    1,614,049       1,593,014       1,556,862       1,475,869       1,442,951  
Less: allowance for loan losses
    27,640       26,434       25,032       25,113       24,863  
Loans, net
    1,586,408       1,566,580       1,531,831       1,450,756       1,418,088  
                                         
Premises and equipment, net
    59,133       54,639       52,385       47,251       46,604  
Intangible assets, net
    4,802       5,126       5,450       5,775       6,099  
Goodwill
    54,675       54,675       54,629       54,419       54,365  
Other assets
    41,337       38,951       37,466       33,754       37,106  
Total Assets
  $ 2,109,350     $ 2,103,139     $ 2,049,073     $ 2,036,413     $ 2,047,542  
                                         
Liabilities
                                       
Deposits:
                                       
Noninterest-bearing demand
  $ 197,345     $ 192,707     $ 200,849     $ 197,845     $ 221,592  
Interest-bearing demand
    624,479       586,891       576,309       574,089       545,564  
Savings
    53,834       57,080       60,243       64,182       63,255  
Time deposits
    881,607       871,177       857,785       876,391       879,752  
Total deposits
    1,757,265       1,707,855       1,695,185       1,712,507       1,710,163  
Federal funds purchased & securities sold under
                                       
agreements to repurchase
    14,705       32,359       6,966       5,370       15,933  
Other borrowings
    90,500       116,500       105,500       75,500       75,500  
Other liabilities
    14,222       15,560       15,054       18,003       24,945  
Subordinated deferrable interest debentures
    42,269       42,269       42,269       42,269       42,269  
Total liabilities
    1,918,961       1,914,543       1,864,974       1,853,649       1,868,810  
                                         
                                         
Stockholders' equity
                                       
  Common stock
    14,870       14,869       14,868       14,850       14,850  
  Capital surplus
    82,595       82,308       82,019       81,620       81,481  
  Retained earnings
    102,391       103,805       102,124       98,631       95,523  
  Accumulated other comprehensive loss
    1,303       (1,617 )     (4,231 )     (1,744 )     (2,529 )
  Less treasury stock
    (10,769 )     (10,769 )     (10,681 )     (10,593 )     (10,593 )
Total stockholders' equity
    190,389       188,596       184,099       182,764       178,732  
Total liabilities and stockholders' equity
  $ 2,109,350     $ 2,103,139     $ 2,049,073     $ 2,036,413     $ 2,047,542  
                                         
                                         
Other Data
                                       
Earning Assets
    1,917,241       1,917,901       1,873,846       1,870,687       1,861,375  
Intangible Assets
    59,477       59,801       60,079       60,193       60,464  
Interest bearing liabilities
    1,707,394       1,706,276       1,649,071       1,637,801       1,622,273  
Average Assets
    2,102,579       2,069,715       2,030,018       2,014,040       1,946,772  
Average Stockholders' Equity
    191,124       187,290       185,177       181,645       169,135  

 
-5-

 

AMERIS BANCORP
 
FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS
 
(unaudited)
 
(dollars in thousands except per share data and FTE headcount)
 
                                           
   
Three Months Ended
   
Twelve Months Ended
 
   
Dec.
   
Sept
   
June
   
Mar.
   
Dec.
   
Dec
   
Dec
 
   
2007
   
2007
   
2007
   
2007
   
2006
   
2007
   
2006
 
                                           
ASSET QUALITY INFORMATION
                                         
                                           
Allowance for loan losses
                                         
Balance at beginning of period
  $ 26,434     $ 25,032     $ 25,113     $ 24,863     $ 23,905     $ 24,863     $ 22,294  
Acquired Reserves
    -       -       -       -       1,024       -       1,024  
Provision for loan loss
    6,914       2,964       936       507       713       11,321       2,837  
                                                         
Charge-offs
    6,499       1,806       1,327       787       1,635       10,418       4,137  
Recoveries
    791       244       309       530       856       1,874       2,845  
Net charge-offs (recoveries)
    5,708       1,562       1,018       257       779       8,545       1,292  
                                                         
Ending balance
  $ 27,640     $ 26,434     $ 25,032     $ 25,113     $ 24,863     $ 27,640     $ 24,863  
                                                         
As a percentage of loans
    1.71 %     1.66 %     1.61 %     1.70 %     1.72 %     1.71 %     1.72 %
As a percentage of nonperforming loans
    145.72 %     135.81 %     154.51 %     282.46 %     361.54 %     145.72 %     361.54 %
As a percentage of nonperforming assets
    106.47 %     120.37 %     136.90 %     252.93 %     285.29 %     106.47 %     285.29 %
                                                         
                                                         
Net Charge-off information
                                                       
Charge-offs
                                                       
Commercial & Commercial Real Estate
  $ 6,069     $ 1,358     $ 959     $ 353     $ 1,078     $ 8,738     $ 1,712  
Consumer Installment
    406       423       82       146       385       1,057       874  
Consumer Real Estate
    24       25       286       288       145       623       1,444  
Agriculture
    -       -       -       -       7       -       14  
Other
    -       -       -       -       20       -       93  
Total charge-offs
    6,499       1,806       1,327       787       1,635       10,418       4,137  
                                                         
Recoveries
                                                       
Commercial & Commercial Real Estate
    649       141       192       357       356       1,339       1,528  
Consumer Installment
    122       70       100       121       107       413       477  
Consumer Real Estate
    20       31       17       51       362       120       745  
Agriculture
    -       1       -       0       31       2       67  
Other
    -       -       -       -       -       -       28  
Total recoveries
    791       244       309       530       856       1,874       2,845  
                                                         
Net charge-offs (recoveries)
  $ 5,708     $ 1,562     $ 1,018     $ 257     $ 779     $ 8,545     $ 1,292  
                                                         
                                                         
                                                         
Non-accrual loans
    18,968       19,464       16,201       8,891       6,877       18,968       6,877  
Foreclosed assets
    6,993       2,497       2,084       1,038       1,838       6,993       1,838  
Total non-performing assets
    25,961       21,961       18,285       9,929       8,715       25,961       8,715  
Non-performing assets as a percent of loans
                                                       
and foreclosed assets
    1.60 %     1.38 %     1.17 %     0.67 %     0.60 %     1.60 %     0.60 %
Net charge offs as a percent of loans (Annualized)
    1.41 %     0.39 %     0.26 %     0.07 %     0.22 %     0.53 %     0.09 %


 
-6-

 

AMERIS BANCORP
 
FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS
 
(unaudited)
 
(dollars in thousands except per share data and FTE headcount)
 
                                           
                                           
   
Three Months Ended
   
Twelve Months Ended
 
   
Dec.
   
Sept
   
June
   
Mar.
   
Dec.
   
Dec
   
Dec
 
   
2007
   
2007
   
2007
   
2007
   
2006
   
2007
   
2006
 
                                           
                                           
AVERAGE BALANCES
                                         
                                           
Short term assets
  $ 21,827     $ 26,212     $ 49,200     $ 85,297     $ 126,332     $ 45,634     $ 71,378  
Investment securities
    297,380       299,925       301,848       292,979       272,769       298,033       268,935  
Loans
    1,605,006       1,569,906       1,511,333       1,458,725       1,377,824       1,536,243       1,308,174  
  Total Earning Assets
    1,924,212       1,896,044       1,862,381       1,837,001       1,776,925       1,879,910       1,648,487  
                                                         
Noninterest bearing deposits
    187,908       190,316       192,298       199,779