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April 26, 2022

BUSINESS FIRST BANCSHARES, INC., ANNOUNCES FINANCIAL RESULTS FOR Q1 2022

Baton Rouge, La. (April 26, 2022) – Business First Bancshares, Inc. (NASDAQ: BFST) (Business First), parent company of b1BANK, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, today announced its unaudited results for the quarter ended March 31, 2022, including net income of $8.7 million or $0.41 per diluted share, decreases of $3.3 million and $0.18, respectively, from the quarter ended December 31, 2021. On a non-GAAP basis, core net income for the quarter ended March 31, 2022, which excludes certain income and expenses, was $10.3 million or $0.49 per diluted share, decreases of $1.4 million and $0.08, respectively, from the quarter ended December 31, 2021.

“Over the first quarter we completed both the acquisition of Texas Citizens Bank in Houston and organically grew overall loans across our pre-acquisition footprint at a strong 25% annualized rate,” said Jude Melville, president and CEO. “The investments we’ve made in personnel and systems over the past few quarters are beginning to show returns. We are excited that our combination of healthy growth, stabilization of net interest margin and continued strong credit metrics put us in a solid position to help our clients continue navigating the uncertain times we are experiencing as a country.”

On April 26, 2022, Business First’s board of directors declared a quarterly dividend based upon financial performance for the first quarter in the amount of $0.12 per share, same as the prior quarter, to the common shareholders of record as of May 15, 2022. The dividend will be paid on May 31, 2022, or as soon thereafter as practicable.

 

 

Quarterly Highlights

  • Completed Texas Citizens Acquisition. Business First completed its previously announced acquisition of Texas Citizens Bancorp, Inc. (Texas Citizens), based in Pasadena, Texas on March 1, 2022. As of February 28, 2022, Texas Citizens had consolidated total assets of $534.2 million, loans of $349.5 million, and deposits of $477.2 million.
  • Strong Loan Growth. Business First continued its strong organic loan growth in Texas and New Orleans due to the investments made over the course of 2021. Total loans held for investment at March 31, 2022, were $3.7 billion, an increase of $558.9 million compared to December 31, 2021, or 17.52% for the quarter. Excluding the decrease in Small Business Administration (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans and loans acquired from Texas Citizens on March 1, 2022, total loans held for investment increased from the quarter ended December 31, 2021, by 6.43% or 25.71% annualized, of which 71.4% was attributable to Texas and 18.4% from our New Orleans market based on unpaid principal balance. As of March 31, 2022, approximately 31% of Business First’s loan portfolio resides in Texas based on unpaid principal balances.
  • Stabilized Net Interest Margin. For the quarter ended March 31, 2022, net interest income totaled $40.5 million and net interest margin and net interest spread were 3.51% and 3.35%, respectively, compared to $38.3 million, 3.57% and 3.38% for the quarter ended December 31, 2021. Non-GAAP net interest margin and net interest spread (excluding loan discount accretion of $920,000) were 3.43% and 3.27%, respectively, for the quarter ended March 31, 2022, compared to 3.42% and 3.24% (excluding loan discount accretion of $1.6 million) for the quarter ended December 31, 2021. Non-GAAP net interest margin rose one basis point over the linked quarter despite the negative impact of two fewer days during the quarter ended March 31, 2022.
  • Continued Strong Credit Quality. Credit quality remained relatively stable from the linked quarter. Ratios of nonperforming loans compared to loans held for investment and nonperforming assets compared to total assets decreased from 0.41% and 0.31%, respectively, at December 31, 2021, to 0.29% and 0.23% at March 31, 2022. The reduction was partially attributable to charge-offs during the quarter ended March 31, 2022, and the addition of Texas Citizens. Excluding the charge-offs and the addition of Texas Citizens, credit quality slightly improved over the linked quarter.

 

Financial Condition

 

March 31, 2022, Compared to December 31, 2021

 

Loans

 

Loans held for investment increased $558.9 million or 17.52% for the quarter ended March 31, 2022. The increase was attributable to the acquisition of Texas Citizens on March 1, 2022, and new loan originations during the quarter.

 

Excluding the net decrease in SBA PPP loans and loans acquired from Texas Citizens on March 1, 2022, total loans held for investment increased for the quarter ended March 31, 2022, by $226.9 million or 6.43% or 25.71% annualized.

 

Credit Quality

Nonperforming loans as a percentage of total loans held for investment decreased from 0.41% as of December 31, 2021, to 0.29% as of March 31, 2022. Nonperforming assets as a percentage of total assets decreased from 0.31% as of December 31, 2021, to 0.23% as of March 31, 2022. The reductions were partially attributable to charge-offs during the quarter ended March 31, 2022, and the addition of Texas Citizens. Excluding the charge-offs and Texas Citizens addition, credit quality slightly improved for the quarter ended March 31, 2022.

Total Shareholders’ Equity

Book value per common share was $20.25 at March 31, 2022, compared to $21.24 at December 31, 2021.

 

On a non-GAAP basis, tangible book value per share was $15.57 at March 31, 2022, compared to $17.71 at December 31, 2021. Tangible book value per share was impacted by the acquisition of Texas Citizens on March 1, 2022, resulting in dilution of $0.55, and a decrease in accumulated other comprehensive income of $38.6 million attributable to fair value adjustments on Business First’s available for sale investment portfolio, resulting in dilution of $1.88.

 

March 31, 2022, Compared to March 31, 2021

 

Loans

 

Total loans held for investment increased by $706.5 million or 23.23% compared to March 31, 2021. Excluding SBA PPP loans and loans acquired from Texas Citizens on March 1, 2022, loans increased $741.5 million, or 27.92%.

 

Credit Quality

Nonperforming loans as a percentage of total loans held for investment decreased from 0.44% as of March 31, 2021, to 0.29% as of March 31, 2022. Nonperforming assets as a percentage of total assets decreased from 0.52% as of March 31, 2021, to 0.23% as of March 31, 2022, largely due to the sales of nonperforming assets.

 

Total Shareholders’ Equity

Book value per common share was $20.25 at March 31, 2022, compared to $20.03 at March 31, 2021. On a non-GAAP basis, tangible book value per share was $15.57 at March 31, 2022, compared to $16.99 at March 31, 2021. Tangible book value per share was impacted by the acquisition of Texas Citizens on March 1, 2022, and more significantly by a decrease in accumulated other comprehensive income of $45.9 million attributable to fair value adjustments on Business First’s available-for-sale investment portfolio.

 

Results of Operations

 

First Quarter 2022 Compared to Fourth Quarter 2021

 

Net Income and Diluted Earnings Per Share

For the quarter ended March 31, 2022, net income was $8.7 million, or $0.41 per diluted share, compared to net income of $12.1 million or $0.59 per diluted share, for the quarter ended December 31, 2021, decreases of $3.3 million and $0.18, respectively. The decrease was largely attributable to a $2.3 million increase in salaries and benefits (approximately $530,000 attributable to salaries of Texas Citizens, $114,000 related to production bonuses, and $360,000 related to bonus payments/taxes attributable to 2021), and a decrease in other income attributable to $708,000 losses on disposals of other assets on former premises and equipment during the quarter ended March 31, 2022. Further, a $492,000 gain on sale of the Oak Grove Banking Center, $444,000 gain on sales of securities, and $555,000 in Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) income occurred during the quarter ended December 31, 2021. These amounts were partially offset by a $2.1 million increase in net interest income during the quarter ended March 31, 2022.

 

On a non-GAAP basis, core net income, which excludes certain income and expenses, for the quarter ended March 31, 2022, was $10.3 million or $0.49 per diluted share, compared to core net income of $11.7 million or $0.57 per diluted share, for the quarter ended December 31, 2021. Notable noncore events impacting earnings for the quarter ended March 31, 2022, included $717,000 losses in disposals of former bank premises and equipment in other income, $811,000 of expenses attributable to acquisition-related expenses, and $231,000 of expenses attributable to hurricane repairs, compared to $444,000 in gains on sale of securities, a $492,000 gain on sale of the Oak Grove Banking Center, and $266,000 of expenses attributable to acquisition-related expenses, for the quarter ended December 31, 2021.

 

Interest Income

For the quarter ended March 31, 2022, net interest income totaled $40.5 million and net interest margin and net interest spread were 3.51% and 3.35%, respectively, compared to $38.3 million, 3.57% and 3.38% for the quarter ended December 31, 2021. The average yield on total interest-earning assets was 3.83% for the quarter ended March 31, 2022, compared to 3.93% for the quarter ended December 31, 2021. The increase in interest income was largely attributable to loan growth during the fourth quarter of 2021 and first quarter of 2022. The average yield on the loan portfolio (excluding SBA PPP loans) was 4.75% for the quarter ended March 31, 2022, compared to 4.93% for the quarter ended December 31, 2021, largely due to two fewer days and $639,000 less discount accretion for the quarter ended March 31, 2022. 

Non-GAAP net interest margin and net interest spread (excluding loan discount accretion of $920,000) were 3.43% and 3.27%, respectively, for the quarter ended March 31, 2022, compared to 3.42% and 3.24% (excluding loan discount accretion of $1.6 million) for the quarter ended December 31, 2021.   

Interest Expense

For the quarter ended March 31, 2022, overall cost of funds (which includes noninterest-bearing deposits) decreased by five basis points, from 0.38% to 0.33%, compared to the quarter ended December 31, 2021, due to increased noninterest deposits, lower yielding interest-bearing deposits, and two fewer days.

 

Other Income

For the quarter ended March 31, 2022, other income was lower by $1.8 million compared to the quarter ended December 31, 2021. The decrease was largely attributable to a $708,000 increase on losses related to disposal of other assets of former premises and equipment during the quarter ended March 31, 2022, and the $492,000 gain on sale related to the sale of the Oak Grove Banking Center, $444,000 gain on sales of securities, and $440,000 decrease in SBIC income during the quarter ended December 31, 2021.

 

Other Expenses

For the quarter ended March 31, 2022, other expense increased by $3.6 million compared to the quarter ended December 31, 2021. The increase was largely attributable to increases in salaries and benefits, $2.3 million, merger and conversion-related expenses, $545,000, and occupancy and bank premises, $530,000. The majority of the increases were attributable to the acquisition of Texas Citizens on March 1, 2022; however, salaries and benefits also increased largely due to additional staffing and merit increases during the quarter ended March 31, 2022.

Provision for Loan Losses

During the quarter ended March 31, 2022, Business First recorded a provision for loan losses of $1.6 million, compared to $1.3 million for the quarter ended December 31, 2021. The reserve for the quarter ended December 31, 2021, was driven primarily by new loan growth and charge-offs recorded, partially offset by improvement in the qualitative factors (attributed to the general economy and energy sector).

 

Return on Assets and Equity

 

Return on average assets and equity, each on an annualized basis, were 0.71% and 7.83%, respectively, for the quarter ended March 31, 2022, compared to 1.05% and 11.20%, respectively, for the quarter ended December 31, 2021.

 

First Quarter 2022 Compared to First Quarter 2021

 

Net Income and Diluted Earnings Per Share

For the quarter ended March 31, 2022, net income was $8.7 million or $0.41 per diluted share, compared to net income of $12.3 million or $0.59 per diluted share, for the quarter ended March 31, 2021. The decreases in net income and diluted earnings per share were largely attributable to the $7.0 million increase in other expenses, partially offset by $1.0 million in additional other income and $1.7 million less in provision for loan losses. 

 

On a non-GAAP basis, core net income, which excludes certain income and expenses, for the quarter ended March 31, 2022, was $10.3 million or $0.49 per diluted share, compared to core net income of $12.6 million or $0.61 per diluted share, for the quarter ended March 31, 2021. Notable noncore events impacting earnings for the quarter ended March 31, 2022, included $717,000 in losses on disposals of former bank premises and equipment in other income, $811,000 of expenses attributable to acquisition-related expenses, and $231,000 of expenses attributable to hurricane repairs, compared to the incurrence of $350,000 in losses attributed to former bank premises and equipment in other expenses for the quarter ended March 31, 2021.

 

 

Interest Income

For the quarter ended March 31, 2022, net interest income totaled $40.5 million and net interest margin and net interest spread were 3.51% and 3.35%, respectively, compared to $40.3 million, 4.23% and 4.06% for the quarter ended March 31, 2021. The average yield on the loan portfolio (excluding SBA PPP loans) was 4.75% for the quarter ended March 31, 2022, compared to 5.53% for the quarter ended March 31, 2021. The quarter ended March 21, 2021, included additional loan discount accretion of $2.1 million. Excluding SBA PPP interest income and loan discount accretion, loan interest income increased $5.8 million from the prior year quarter.

 

Average yield on total interest-earning assets, net interest margin, and net interest spread were negatively impacted for the quarter ended March 31, 2022, compared to the quarter ended March 31, 2021, by lower yielding loans, including SBA PPP loans, and securities, offset partially by lower deposit and borrowing yields.  

Non-GAAP net interest margin and net interest spread (excluding loan discount accretion of $920,000) were 3.43% and 3.27%, respectively, for the quarter ended March 31, 2022, compared to 3.91% and 3.73% (excluding loan discount accretion of $3.1 million) for the quarter ended March 31, 2021.

 

Interest Expense

 

For the quarter ended March 31, 2022, overall cost of funds (which includes noninterest-bearing deposits) decreased by eight basis points, from 0.41% to 0.33%, compared to the quarter ended March 31, 2021. The decrease in cost of funds was primarily attributable to an overall reduction in interest rates on deposit offerings and increase in noninterest-bearing deposits, offset by an increase associated with higher subordinated debt balances.

 

Other Income

 

For the quarter ended March 31, 2022, the increase in other income of $1.0 million, compared to the quarter ended March 31, 2021, was largely attributable to the $1.3 million increase in fees and brokerage commissions related to the acquisition of Smith Shellnut Wilson, LLC on April 1, 2021, and a $238,000 increase in service charges for deposit accounts, offset by a $834,000 increase on losses on disposal of other assets mainly attributable to former premises and equipment.

 

 

 

 

Other Expenses

 

For the quarter ended March 31, 2022, the increase in other expense was $7.0 million compared to the quarter ended March 31, 2021. Notable increases include an increase in salaries and employee benefits of $4.8 million, attributable to an increase in employees, including the acquisition of Texas Citizens on March 1, 2022, merger and conversion-related expense increase of $801,000 attributable to the Texas Citizens acquisition, and other expenses increase of $613,000.

Provision for Loan Losses

During the quarter ended March 31, 2022, Business First recorded a provision for loan losses of $1.6 million compared to $3.4 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2021. The reserve for the quarter ended March 31, 2021, was affected by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the qualitative factors at the time.

Return on Assets and Equity

 

Return on average assets and return on average equity, each on an annualized basis, were 0.71% and 7.83%, respectively, for the quarter ended March 31, 2022, from 1.15% and 11.86%, respectively, for the quarter ended March 31, 2021.   

 

 

About Business First Bancshares, Inc.

Business First Bancshares, Inc., (Nasdaq: BFST) through its banking subsidiary b1BANK, has $5.4 billion in assets, $5.7 billion in assets under management through b1BANK’s affiliate Smith Shellnut Wilson, LLC (SSW) (excludes $1.0 billion of b1BANK assets managed by SSW) and operates Banking Centers and Loan Production Offices in markets across Louisiana and the Dallas and Houston, Texas areas, providing commercial and personal banking products and services. Commercial banking services include commercial loans and letters of credit, working capital lines and equipment financing, and treasury management services. b1BANK was awarded #1 Best-In-State Bank, Louisiana, by Forbes and Statista, and is a three-time recipient of Baton Rouge Business Report’s “Best Places to Work in Baton Rouge.” Visit b1BANK.com for more information. 

 

Non-GAAP Financial Measures

This press release includes certain non-GAAP financial measures (e.g., referenced as “core” or “tangible”) intended to supplement, not substitute for, comparable GAAP measures. “Core” measures typically adjust income available to common shareholders for certain significant activities or transactions that, in management’s opinion, can distort period-to-period comparisons of Business First’s performance. Transactions that are typically excluded from non-GAAP “core” measures include realized and unrealized gains/losses on former bank premises and equipment, investment sales, acquisition-related expenses (including, but not limited to, legal costs, system conversion costs, severance and retention payments, etc.).  “Tangible” measures adjust common equity by subtracting goodwill, core deposit intangibles, and customer intangibles, net of accumulated amortization. Management believes presentations of these non-GAAP financial measures provide useful supplemental information that is essential to a proper understanding of the operating results of Business First’s core business. These non-GAAP disclosures are not necessarily comparable to non-GAAP measures that may be presented by other companies. Reconciliations of non-GAAP financial measures to GAAP financial measures are provided at the end of the tables below.

 

Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

Certain statements contained in this release may not be based on historical facts and are “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. These forward-looking statements may be identified by their reference to a future period or periods or by the use of forward-looking terminology such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “expect,” “may,” “might,” “will,” “would,” “could,” or “intend.” We caution you not to place undue reliance on the forward-looking statements contained in this news release, in that actual results could differ materially from those indicated in such forward-looking statements as a result of a variety of factors, including those factors specified in our Annual Report on Form 10-K and other public filings. We undertake no obligation to update these forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances that occur after the date of this news release.

 

Additional Information

For additional information about Business First, you may obtain Business First’s reports that are filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) free of charge by using the SEC’s EDGAR service on the SEC’s website at www.SEC.gov or by contacting the SEC for further information at 1-800-SEC-0330. Alternatively, these documents can be obtained free of charge from Business First by directing a request to: Business First Bancshares, Inc., 500 Laurel Street, Suite 101, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70801, Attention: Corporate Secretary.

 

No Offer or Solicitation

This release does not constitute or form part of any offer to sell, or a solicitation of an offer to purchase, any securities of Business First. There will be no sale of securities in any jurisdiction in which such an offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of such jurisdiction.

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