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October 21, 2021

BUSINESS FIRST BANCSHARES, INC., ANNOUNCES FINANCIAL RESULTS FOR Q3 2021

Baton Rouge, La. (October 21, 2021) – Business First Bancshares, Inc. (NASDAQ: BFST) (Business First), parent company of b1BANK, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, today announced its unaudited results for the quarter ended September 30, 2021, including net income of $10.3 million, or $0.50 per diluted share, a decrease of $7.1 million and $0.34, respectively, from the prior quarter ended June 30, 2021. On a non-GAAP basis, core net income for the quarter ended September 30, 2021, which excludes certain income and expenses, was $10.9 million, or $0.53 per diluted share, a decrease of $7.8 million and $0.37, respectively, from prior quarter ended June 30, 2021.  The decrease was primarily attributable to the gain on sale recognized from the SBA PPP loan portfolio sale during the quarter ended June 30, 2021.

 

“The investments we’ve made over the past few years continued to pay off in the third quarter,” said Jude Melville, president and CEO. “Record and diversified organic loan growth, success recruiting and retaining in a competitive jobs market and establishment of a new partnership with Texas Citizens Bank in Houston all illustrate the consistent strengthening of our brand and capacity to deliver for our partners in the region. Thank you to all of our employees and clients for sticking with us during Hurricane Ida and its aftermath. While we pray this will be the last major weather event to hit our footprint for some time to come, I am once again thankful to be part of such a resilient and supportive team.”   

 

On October 20, 2021, Business First’s board of directors declared a quarterly dividend based upon financial performance for the third quarter in the amount of $0.12 per share, same as the prior quarter, to the common shareholders of record as of November 15, 2021. The dividend will be paid on November 30, 2021, or as soon thereafter as practicable.

 

 

Quarterly Highlights

  • Loan Growth. Total loans held for investment at September 30, 2021, were $3.1 billion, an increase of $211.4 million compared to June 30, 2021, or 7.40% for the quarter and 29.61% annualized. Excluding the decrease in Small Business Administration (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, total loans held for investment increased for the quarter ended September 30, 2021, by 8.04%, or 32.15% annualized. Loan growth in Dallas, Tx (36.0%), greater New Orleans (28.5%), and the Baton Rouge/capital region (23.3%) markets accounted for approximately 87.9% of quarterly loan growth.
  • New Loan Production Office (LPO) Activity.  Business First opened an LPO in New Orleans/Metairie, La. (i.e., greater New Orleans area). 
  • Stock Repurchases.  During the quarter ended September 30, 2021, Business First repurchased approximately 360,000 shares of its common stock at a weighted average price of $23.18 per share (including commissions), for a total cost of $8.4 million.
  • Efficiency Initiatives.  Business First regularly evaluates its branch network in search of optimization opportunities and closed two branches recently, one in Minden, La, during Q3 2021, and a second by sale in Oak Grove, La, on October 1, 2021. Additionally, 11 interactive teller machines (ITMs) with fully functional video call centers, providing extended client hours, were launched during Q3 2021.   
  • Texas Citizens Bancorp, Inc. Acquisition.  On October 20, 2021, Business First executed a definitive agreement to acquire Texas Citizens Bancshares, Inc. (“TCBI”), the parent bank holding company for Texas Citizens Bank, National Association, based in Pasadena, Texas. As of September 30, 2021, TCBI had consolidated total assets of $516.9 million, loans of $365.7 million, and deposits of $452.0 million.

 

 

Financial Condition

 

September 30, 2021, Compared to June 30, 2021

 

Loans

 

Loans held for investment increased $211.4 million, or 7.40% (29.61% annualized), for the quarter ended September 30, 2021. The increase was largely attributable to loan originations in our commercial and nonfarm, nonresidential real estate portfolios which were $62.4 million and $109.1 million, respectively. Year to date annualized loan growth was 3.34%, inclusive of SBA PPP loans. As of September 30, 2021, SBA PPP loans with an unpaid principal balance of $9.7 million remained outstanding, compared to $25.7 million as of June 30, 2021.  

 

Excluding the net decrease in SBA PPP loans, total loans held for investment increased for the quarter ended September 30, 2021, by 8.04%, or 32.15% annualized. Year to date annualized loan growth was 18.97% excluding SBA PPP loans.

 

Credit Quality

Nonperforming loans as a percentage of total loans held for investment increased from 0.40% as of June 30, 2021, to 0.45% as of September 30, 2021. Nonperforming assets as a percentage of total assets decreased from 0.42% as of June 30, 2021, to 0.37% as of September 30, 2021. The increase in the nonperforming loans ratio was largely attributable to $2.1 million increase in nonaccrual loans, mainly related to a single $1.5 million (commercial) loan.

Total Shareholders’ Equity

 

Book value per common share was $21.11 at September 30, 2021, compared to $20.78 at June 30, 2021. On a non-GAAP basis, tangible book value per share was $17.53 at September 30, 2021, compared to $17.24 at June 30, 2021. 

 

September 30, 2021, Compared to September 30, 2020

 

Loans

 

Total loans held for investment decreased by $16.2 million compared to September 30, 2020, or (0.53) %, primarily due to the forgiveness and portfolio sale of SBA PPP loans. Excluding SBA PPP loans, loans increased $371.8 million, or 13.85%.

 

Credit Quality

Nonperforming loans as a percentage of total loans held for investment increased from 0.32% as of September 30, 2020, to 0.45% as of September 30, 2021. Nonperforming assets as a percentage of total assets decreased from 0.54% as of September 30, 2020, to 0.37% as of September 30, 2021. The increase in the nonperforming ratio was largely attributable to an increase in nonaccrual loans.

 

 

 

 

Total Shareholders’ Equity

 

Book value per common share was $21.11 at September 30, 2021, compared to $19.26 at September 30, 2020. On a non-GAAP basis, tangible book value per share was $17.53 at September 30, 2021, compared to $16.18 at September 30, 2020, an increase of 8.34%.

 

Results of Operations

 

Third Quarter 2021 Compared to Second Quarter 2021

 

Net Income and Diluted Earnings Per Share

 

For the quarter ended September 30, 2021, net income was $10.3 million, or $0.50 per diluted share, compared to net income of $17.4 million, or $0.84 per diluted share, for the quarter ended June 30, 2021. The decrease, $7.1 million and $0.34, respectively, was largely attributable to the $10.0 million gain on sale of loans recognized in the period ended June 30, 2021. The gain primarily related to a $9.2 million gain recognized upon the sale of SBA PPP loans with an outstanding principal balance of $243.6 million.

 

On a non-GAAP basis, core net income, which excludes certain income and expenses, for the quarter ended September 30, 2021, was $10.9 million, or $0.53 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 September 30, 2021, included $211,000 in occupancy and bank premises expenses attributable to hurricane damages (primarily related to Ida, 2021), $145,000 in acquisition-related expenses and  $392,000 in losses on sales of former premises and equipment within other income, compared to $938,000 in occupancy and bank premises expenses attributable to hurricane damage (related to Hurricanes Laura/Delta, 2020, but resolved in the current year) and a $540,000 loss on sales of former premises and equipment within other income, for the quarter ended June 30, 2021.

 

Interest Income

 

For the quarter ended September 30, 2021, net interest income totaled $37.3 million and net interest margin and net interest spread were 3.71% and 3.51%, respectively, compared to $37.9 million, 3.87% and 3.68% for the quarter ended June 30, 2021. The average yield on total interest-earning assets was 4.14% for the quarter ended September 30, 2021, compared to 4.32% for the quarter ended June 30, 2021. Net interest margin and net interest spread were largely impacted for the quarter ended September 30, 2021, by $2.2 million less in SBA PPP origination fees, or (22) basis points for each. The reduction in interest income was largely attributable to lower SBA PPP portfolio interest and fee income due to the $243.6 million portfolio sale during the quarter ended June 30, 2021, partially offset by interest and fee income due to loan growth and an additional day in the third quarter. The average yield on the loan portfolio (excluding SBA PPP loans) was 5.11% for the quarter ended September 30, 2021, compared to 5.13% for the quarter ended June 30, 2021.

 

Non-GAAP net interest margin and net interest spread (excluding loan discount accretion of $1.5 million) were 3.56% and 3.36%, respectively, for the quarter ended September 30, 2021, 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 September 30, 2021, overall cost of funds (which includes noninterest-bearing deposits) decreased by one basis point, from 0.45% to 0.44%, compared to the quarter ended June 30, 2021.

 

Other Income

 

For the quarter ended September 30, 2021, other income was lower by $11.0 million. The reduction was primarily due to a $9.9 million gain on sale of loans recognized in the period ended June 30, 2021. Additionally, there was a reduction of Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) investment income of $1.2 million compared to the quarter ended June 30, 2021.

 

Other Expenses

For the quarter ended September 30, 2021, other expenses were lower by $1.5 million. The reduction was largely attributed to lower reserve for unfunded commitments, $586,000, and hurricane-related expenses within occupancy and bank premises, $765,000.

Provision for Loan Losses

During the quarter ended September 30, 2021, Business First recorded a provision for loan losses of $1.1 million, compared to $2.2 million for the quarter ended June 30, 2021. The decrease for the quarter ended September 30, 2021, was driven primarily by the improvement in the qualitative factors (attributed to the general economy and energy sector), offset by reserves for new loan growth.

 

Return on Assets and Equity

 

Return on average assets and equity, each on an annualized basis, were 0.95% and 9.47%, respectively, for the quarter ended September 30, 2021, compared to 1.58% and 16.57%, respectively, for the quarter ended June 30, 2021. Both returns were impacted by higher net income for the quarter ended June 30, 2021, mainly attributable to the gain on sale of the SBA PPP portfolio.

 

Third Quarter 2021 Compared to Third Quarter 2020

 

Net Income and Diluted Earnings Per Share

 

For the quarter ended September 30, 2021, net income was $10.3 million, or $0.50 per diluted share, compared to net income of $9.6 million, or $0.46 per diluted share, for the quarter ended September 30, 2020. The increases in net income and diluted earnings per share were largely attributable to a decrease in the provision for loan losses of $1.1 million, as increases in other income were largely offset with increases in other expenses.

 

On a non-GAAP basis, core net income, which excludes certain income and expenses, for the quarter ended September 30, 2021, was $10.9 million, or $0.53 per diluted share, compared to core net income of $11.0 million, or $0.53 per diluted share, for the quarter ended September 30, 2020. Notable noncore events impacting earnings for the quarter ended September 30, 2021, included $211,000 in occupancy and bank premises expenses attributable to hurricane damages (primarily related to Ida, 2021), $145,000 in acquisition-related expenses and $392,000 in losses on sales of former premises and equipment within other income, compared to $635,000 in losses on sales of former premises and equipment within other income and $1.2 million in acquisition-related expenses incurred during the quarter ended September 30, 2020.

 

Interest Income

 

For the quarter ended September 30, 2021, net interest income totaled $37.3 million and net interest margin and net interest spread were 3.71% and 3.51%, respectively, compared to $36.9 million, 4.06% and 3.81% for the quarter ended September 30, 2020. The average yield on the loan portfolio (excluding SBA PPP loans) was 5.11% for the quarter ended September 30, 2021, compared to 5.65% for the quarter ended September 30, 2020. The increase in interest income was largely attributable to higher average balances in loans and securities, attributable to organic loan and deposit growth, offset by lower yielding new loans and securities.

 

Average yield on total interest-earning assets, net interest margin, and net interest spread were negatively impacted for the quarter ended September 30, 2021, by lower yielding loans and securities, offset partially by lower deposit and borrowing costs.  

 

Non-GAAP net interest margin and net interest spread (excluding loan discount accretion of $1.5 million) were 3.56% and 3.36%, respectively, for the quarter ended September 30, 2021, compared to 3.81% and 3.56% (excluding loan discount accretion of $2.3 million) for the quarter ended September 30, 2020.

 

Interest Expense

 

For the quarter ended September 30, 2021, overall cost of funds (which includes noninterest-bearing deposits) decreased by 19 basis points, from 0.63% to 0.44%, compared to the quarter ended September 30, 2020. The decrease in cost of funds was primarily attributable to an overall reduction in interest rates on deposit offerings and reduction in Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) advance balances, offset by an increase in subordinated debt balances.

 

Other Income

 

For the quarter ended September 30, 2021, the increase in other income, $2.1 million, was largely attributable to the $1.1 million increase in fees and brokerage commission, related to the Smith Shellnut Wilson, LLC. (SSW) acquisition which occurred in Q2 2021, as well as modest increases in gain on disposal of other assets, $641,000, debit card and ATM fee income, $133,000, and service charges, $171,000, partially offset by more losses on the sale of other real estate owned, $(454,000), compared to the quarter ended September 30, 2020.

 

Other Expenses

 

For the quarter ended September 30, 2021, the increase in other expense, $2.6 million, was largely attributable to the increase in salary and employee benefits, $1.4 million, as well as more modest increases in various other expenses, $687,000, depreciation and amortization, $398,000, advertising and promotions, $292,000, and occupancy and bank premises, $235,000, partially offset by a reduction in merger and conversion-related expenses, $(411,000), compared to the quarter ended September 30, 2020.

Provision for Loan Losses

During the quarter ended September 30, 2021, Business First recorded a provision for loan losses of $1.1 million compared to $2.5 million for the quarter ended September 30, 2020. The reserve for the quarter ended September 30, 2020, was impacted by the estimated impact on the general economy of the COVID-19 pandemic at the time.

Return on Assets and Equity

 

Return on average assets and return on average equity, each on an annualized basis, were 0.95% and 9.47%, respectively, for the quarter ended September 30, 2021, from 0.98% and 9.85%, respectively, for the quarter ended September 30, 2020.

 

 

About Business First Bancshares, Inc.

Business First Bancshares, Inc., (Nasdaq: BFST) through its banking subsidiary b1BANK, has $4.4 billion in assets, $4.7 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, Texas area, 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 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 the Company’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. Actual results will also be significantly impacted by the effects of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, including, among other effects: the impact of the public health crisis; the extent and duration of closures of businesses, including our branches, vendors and customers; the operation of financial markets; employment levels; market liquidity; the impact of various actions taken in response by the U.S. federal government, the Federal Reserve, other banking regulators, state and local governments; the adequacy of our allowance for loan losses in relation to potential losses in our loan portfolio; and the impact that all of these factors have on our borrowers, other customers, vendors and counterparties. 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 on 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.

 

This report does not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any securities or a solicitation of any vote or approval with respect to the merger. No offer of securities shall be made except by means of a prospectus meeting the requirements of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and no offer to sell or solicitation of an offer to buy shall be made in any jurisdiction in which such offer or solicitation would be unlawful.

 

In connection with the merger, Business First will file with the SEC a registration statement on Form S-4 (the “Registration Statement”) that will include a proxy statement of TCBI and a prospectus of Business First (the “Proxy Statement-Prospectus”), and Business First may file with the SEC other relevant documents concerning the merger. The definitive Proxy Statement-Prospectus will be mailed to the shareholders of TCBI. SHAREHOLDERS ARE URGED TO READ THE REGISTRATION STATEMENT AND THE PROXY STATEMENT-PROSPECTUS REGARDING THE PROPOSED TRANSACTION CAREFULLY AND IN THEIR ENTIRETY WHEN THEY BECOME AVAILABLE AND ANY OTHER RELEVANT DOCUMENTS FILED WITH THE SEC BY BUSINESS FIRST, AS WELL AS ANY AMENDMENTS OR SUPPLEMENTS TO THOSE DOCUMENTS, BECAUSE THEY WILL CONTAIN IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT THE PROPOSED TRANSACTION.

 

Free copies of the Proxy Statement-Prospectus, as well as other filings containing information about Business First, may be obtained at the SEC’s Internet site (http://www.sec.gov), when they are filed by Business First. You will also be able to obtain these documents, when they are filed, free of charge, from Business First at www.b1bank.com. Copies of the Proxy Statement-Prospectus can also be obtained, when it becomes available, free of charge, by directing a request to Business First Bancshares, Inc., 500 Laurel Street, Suite 101, Baton Rouge, LA 70801, Attention: Corporate Secretary, Telephone: 225-248-7600 or to Texas Citizens Bancshares, Inc., 4949 Fairmont Parkway, Pasadena, TX 77505, Attention: Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Telephone: 713-948-5727.

 

 

Participants in the Solicitation

 

Business First, Texas Citizens Bancshares, Inc. (TCBI) and certain of their directors, executive officers and employees may be deemed to be participants in the solicitation of proxies from the shareholders of TCBI in connection with the merger. Information about Business First’s directors and executive officers is available in its proxy statement for its 2021 annual meeting of shareholders, which was filed with the SEC on April 15, 2021. Information regarding all of the persons who may, under the rules of the SEC, be deemed participants in the proxy solicitation and a description of their direct and indirect interests, by security holdings or otherwise, will be contained in the Proxy Statement-Prospectus pertaining to the merger and other relevant materials to be filed with the SEC when they become available. Free copies of these documents may be obtained as described in the preceding paragraph.

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