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July 26, 2022

BUSINESS FIRST BANCSHARES, INC., ANNOUNCES FINANCIAL RESULTS FOR Q2 2022

Baton Rouge, La. (July 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 June 30, 2022, including net income of $13.8 million or $0.61 per diluted share, increases of $5.0 million and $0.20, respectively, from the quarter ended March 31, 2022. On a non-GAAP basis, core net income for the quarter ended June 30, 2022, which excludes certain income and expenses, was $14.6 million or $0.64 per diluted share, increases of $4.3 million and $0.15, respectively, from the quarter ended March 31, 2022.

 

“Our second quarter results demonstrate strengthening returns on investments our team has made over the past few years,” said Jude Melville, president and CEO. “Strong and diversified organic growth across our footprint, positive momentum towards integration of our recent Houston partnership, and a continued prioritized focus on asset quality combined to produce record levels of performance and profitability. We are monitoring developments in the broader economy but feel confident we are well positioned to continue executing on our strategic plan while also supporting our clients and partners as they do the same.”

 

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

 

 

Quarterly Highlights

  • Strong Loan Growth. Total loans held for investment at June 30, 2022, were $4.1 billion, an increase of $365.2 million compared to March 31, 2022, or 9.74% for the quarter.  Based on unpaid principal balances, 37.1% of loan growth for the quarter ended June 30, 2022, was attributable to our Dallas, Texas market, 29.0% to the New Orleans market, and 26.4% to the northern Louisiana market (largely attributable to agricultural lending). As of June 30, 2022, approximately 32% of Business First’s loan portfolio resides in Texas based on unpaid principal balances.
  • Expansion of Net Interest Margin. For the quarter ended June 30, 2022, net interest income totaled $49.6 million and net interest margin and net interest spread were 3.98% and 3.79%, respectively, compared to $40.5 million, 3.51% and 3.35% for the quarter ended March 31, 2022. Non-GAAP net interest margin and net interest spread (excluding loan discount accretion of $2.6 million) were 3.77% and 3.59%, respectively, for the quarter ended June 30, 2022, compared to 3.43% and 3.27% (excluding loan discount accretion of $920,000) for the quarter ended March 31, 2022. Non-GAAP net interest margin and spread rose due to the recent increase in interest rates.
  • Solid Return on Assets and Equity. Return on average assets and equity, each on an annualized basis, were 1.02% and 12.22%, respectively, for the quarter ended June 30, 2022, compared to 0.71% and 7.83%, respectively, for the quarter ended March 31, 2022.
  • Overall Credit Quality Remains Stable. Ratios of nonperforming loans compared to loans held for investment and nonperforming assets compared to total assets increased from 0.29% and 0.23%, respectively, at March 31, 2022, to 0.42% and 0.33% at June 30, 2022.  This change is largely due to a to a single nonfarm nonresidential commercial loan with an outstanding balance of $6.3 million being transferred to nonaccrual at the beginning of the second quarter.  This occurred because of a delay in the hurricane-related insurance settlement process. The insurance proceeds were received in July 2022 and the loan was repaid in full.  This loan negatively impacted our nonperforming loans to total loans held for investment ratio by 16 basis points and our nonperforming assets to total assets ratio by 12 basis points.

 

Financial Condition

 

June 30, 2022, Compared to March 31, 2022

 

Loans

 

Loans held for investment increased $365.2 million or 9.74% for the quarter ended June 30, 2022.

 

Credit Quality

Nonperforming loans as a percentage of total loans held for investment increased from 0.29% as of March 31, 2022, to 0.42% as of June 30, 2022. Nonperforming assets as a percentage of total assets increased from 0.23% as of March 31, 2022, to 0.33% as of June 30, 2022. The increases were largely attributable to a single nonfarm nonresidential commercial loan with an outstanding balance of $6.3 million, which was paid in full in July 2022.

Total Shareholders’ Equity

 

Book value per common share was $19.73 at June 30, 2022, compared to $20.25 at March 31, 2022. The decrease was largely attributable to the $23.0 million decrease in accumulated other comprehensive income (loss) related to unrealized losses on Business First’s available for sale investment portfolio.

 

On a non-GAAP basis, tangible book value per share was $15.13 at June 30, 2022, compared to $15.57 at March 31, 2022.

 

June 30, 2022, Compared to June 30, 2021

 

Loans

 

Total loans held for investment increased by $1.3 billion or 44.09% compared to June 30, 2021. Excluding loans acquired from Texas Citizens on March 1, 2022, loans increased $912.5 million or 31.96%.

 

Credit Quality

Nonperforming loans as a percentage of total loans held for investment increased from 0.40% as of June 30, 2021, to 0.42% as of June 30, 2022, largely due to the increase in nonaccrual loans, attributable to a single nonfarm nonresidential commercial loan with an outstanding balance of $6.3 million, which was paid in full in July 2022. Nonperforming assets as a percentage of total assets decreased from 0.42% as of June 30, 2021, to 0.33% as of June 30, 2022, largely due to the increase in total assets.

 

Total Shareholders’ Equity

 

Book value per common share was $19.73 at June 30, 2022, compared to $20.78 at June 30, 2021. On a non-GAAP basis, tangible book value per share was $15.13 at June 30, 2022, compared to $17.24 at June 30, 2021. Tangible book value per share was negatively impacted by a decrease in accumulated other comprehensive income (loss) of $69.6 million attributable to fair value adjustments on Business First’s available for sale investment portfolio.

 

Results of Operations

 

Second Quarter 2022 Compared to First Quarter 2022

 

Net Income and Diluted Earnings Per Share

 

For the quarter ended June 30, 2022, net income was $13.8 million, or $0.61 per diluted share, compared to net income of $8.7 million or $0.41 per diluted share, for the quarter ended March 31, 2022, increases of $5.0 million and $0.20, respectively. The increases were largely attributable to an increase in net interest income of $9.1 million (partially attributable to a full quarter of the Texas Citizens acquisition), offset by increases of $1.3 million in provision for loan losses and $2.7 million in other expenses.

 

On a non-GAAP basis, core net income, which excludes certain income and expenses, for the quarter ended June 30, 2022, was $14.6 million or $0.64 per diluted share, compared to core net income of $10.3 million or $0.49 per diluted share, for the quarter ended March 31, 2022. Notable noncore events impacting earnings for the quarter ended June 30, 2022, included $708,000 of acquisition-related expenses, and $270,000 of expenses attributable to storm repairs, compared to $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 storm repairs, for the quarter ended March 31, 2022.

 

Interest Income

 

For the quarter ended June 30, 2022, net interest income totaled $49.6 million and net interest margin and net interest spread were 3.98% and 3.79%, respectively, compared to $40.5 million, 3.51% and 3.35% for the quarter ended March 31, 2022. The average yield on total interest-earning assets was 4.33% for the quarter ended June 30, 2022, compared to 3.83% for the quarter ended March 31, 2022. The average yield on the loan portfolio (excluding Small Business Administration (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans) was 5.10% for the quarter ended June 30, 2022, compared to 4.75% for the quarter ended March 31, 2022.  The increases were largely attributable to loan growth and interest rate increases, as well as an increase of $1.7 million in loan discount accretion for the quarter ended June 30, 2022.

Non-GAAP net interest margin and net interest spread (excluding loan discount accretion of $2.6 million) were 3.77% and 3.59%, respectively, for the quarter ended June 30, 2022, compared to 3.43% and 3.27% (excluding loan discount accretion of $920,000) for the quarter ended March 31, 2022.

 

Interest Expense

 

For the quarter ended June 30, 2022, overall cost of funds (which includes noninterest-bearing deposits) increased by three basis points, from 0.33% to 0.36%, compared to the quarter ended March 31, 2022, due to increased rates and growth on interest-bearing deposits.

 

Other Income

For the quarter ended June 30, 2022, other income increased by $1.1 million compared to the quarter ended March 31, 2022. The increase was largely attributable to a $717,000 loss on disposal of other assets which occurred during the quarter ended March 31, 2022.

 

Other Expenses

For the quarter ended June 30, 2022, other expense increased by $2.7 million compared to the quarter ended March 31, 2022. The increase was largely attributable to increases in salaries and benefits of $1.7 million, mostly due to excess bonus payments of $463,000 and $1.1 million in salaries of two additional months of increased headcount as a result of the Texas Citizens acquisition compared to the quarter ended March 31, 2022.

Provision for Loan Losses

During the quarter ended June 30, 2022, Business First recorded a provision for loan losses of $2.9 million, compared to $1.6 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2022. The reserve for the quarter ended June 30, 2022, was driven primarily by new loan growth.

 

Return on Assets and Equity

 

Return on average assets and equity, each on an annualized basis, were 1.02% and 12.22%, respectively, for the quarter ended June 30, 2022, compared to 0.71% and 7.83%, respectively, for the quarter ended March 31, 2022.

 

 

Second Quarter 2022 Compared to Second Quarter 2021

 

Net Income and Diluted Earnings Per Share

 

For the quarter ended June 30, 2022, net income was $13.8 million or $0.61 per diluted share, compared to net income of $17.4 million or $0.84 per diluted share, for the quarter ended June 30, 2021. Although net interest income increased by $11.6 million (partially attributed to the larger balance sheet resulting from the Texas Citizens acquisition and the inclusion of only two months of the larger balance sheet as a result of the Pedestal transaction on May 1, 2021), this was offset by the $10.0 million gain on sale during the quarter ended June 30, 2021 (mainly attributable to the SBA PPP portfolio loan sale) and the $4.7 million increase in salaries and benefits,  during the quarter ended June 30, 2022 (largely attributable to the acquisition of Texas Citizens on March 1, 2022, and additional staffing, mostly production, over the past year).

 

On a non-GAAP basis, core net income, which excludes certain income and expenses, for the quarter ended June 30, 2022, was $14.6 million or $0.64 per diluted share, compared to core net income of $18.7 million or $0.90 per diluted share, for the quarter ended June 30, 2021. Notable noncore events impacting earnings for the quarter ended June 30, 2022, included $708,000 of expenses attributable to acquisition-related expenses, and $270,000 of expenses attributable to storm repairs, compared to $938,000 in occupancy and bank premises expenses attributable to storm damage and $540,000 losses on sales of former premises and equipment within other income for the quarter ended June 30, 2021.

 

Interest Income

 

For the quarter ended June 30, 2022, net interest income totaled $49.6 million and net interest margin and net interest spread were 3.98% and 3.79%, respectively, compared to $37.9 million, 3.87% and 3.68% for the quarter ended June 30, 2021. The average yield on the loan portfolio (excluding SBA PPP loans) was 5.10% for the quarter ended June 30, 2022, compared to 5.13% for the quarter ended June 30, 2021. The quarter ended June 30, 2022, included additional loan discount accretion of $1.0 million, while the quarter ended June 30, 2021, included $3.0 million additional interest income related to SBA PPP loans.

Non-GAAP net interest margin and net interest spread (excluding loan discount accretion of $2.6 million were 3.77% and 3.59%, respectively, for the quarter ended June 30, 2022, compared to 3.71% and 3.52% (excluding loan discount accretion of $1.6 million) for the quarter ended June 30, 2021.
 

Interest Expense

 

For the quarter ended June 30, 2022, overall cost of funds (which includes noninterest-bearing deposits) decreased by nine basis points, from 0.45% to 0.36%, compared to the quarter ended June 30, 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 average subordinated debt balances.

 

Other Income

 

For the quarter ended June 30, 2022, the decrease in other income of $10.1 million, compared to the quarter ended June 30, 2021, was attributable to the $10.0 million gain on sale, largely related to the SBA PPP loan portfolio sale which occurred during the quarter ended June 30, 2021.

 

Other Expenses

 

For the quarter ended June 30, 2022, the increase in other expense of $5.5 million compared to the quarter ended March 31, 2021 was largely attributable to the $4.7 million increase in salaries and benefits mainly associated with the acquisition of Texas Citizens on March 1, 2022, and additional production staffing which occurred over the past year.

Provision for Loan Losses

During the quarter ended June 30, 2022, Business First recorded a provision for loan losses of $2.9 million compared to $2.2 million for the quarter ended June 30, 2021. The reserve for the quarter ended June 30, 2021, was affected by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the qualitative factors at the time, while the reserve for the quarter ended June 30, 2022, was impacted due to new loan growth.

Return on Assets and Equity

 

Return on average assets and return on average equity, each on an annualized basis, were 1.02% and 12.22%, respectively, for the quarter ended June 30, 2022, from 1.58% and 16.57%, respectively, for the quarter ended June 30, 2021.   

 

 

About Business First Bancshares, Inc.

Business First Bancshares, Inc., (Nasdaq: BFST) through its banking subsidiary b1BANK, has $5.5 billion in assets, $6.2 billion in assets under management through b1BANK’s affiliate Smith Shellnut Wilson, LLC (SSW) (excludes $0.9 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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