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Cullen/Frost Bankers (CFR) 4Q Earnings Rise 8.6 Pct, Beat Estimates

 January 30, 2013 11:57 AM

(By Balaseshan) Cullen/Frost Bankers Inc. (NYSE: CFR) reported a 8.6% increase in quarterly earnings on higher average volume of earning assets as well as an increase in trust and investment management fees. Results exceeded Street's expectations.

Earnings for the fourth quarter were $60.19 million or $0.97 per share, up from $55.41 million or $0.90 per share last year.

Net interest income on taxable-equivalent basis increased to $172.16 million from $165.34 million on higher average volume of earning assets that was partly offset by a decrease in the net interest margin to 3.48% from 3.76%.

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Non-interest income grew to $75.89 million from $67.66 million, on higher trust and investment management fees as well as a rise in insurance commissions and fees. During the fourth quarter, Cullen/Frost recorded a $4.4 million gain on the sale of $596 million in short term treasuries.

Analysts, on average, polled by Thomson Reuters had expected a profit of $0.93 per share on revenue of $235.19 million for the fourth quarter.

Non-interest expense rose 1.6% to $146.1 million. Salaries were up $1.3 million as a result of normal annual merit and market increases and incentive compensation.

For the fourth quarter of 2012, returns on average assets and equity were 1.09% and 9.84% respectively, compared to 1.12% and 9.74% in the same period of 2011.

Loans grew 11.2% to $8.9 billion for the latest quarter, while deposits was up by 14.2% to $18.4 billion. Non-performing assets were $105.2 million at year-end, compared to $124.9 million the previous quarter, and $120.9 million at year-end 2011.

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For the year ended December 31, 2012, average annual total loans rose 5.1% to $8.5 billion, while average annual total deposits grew 13.6% to $17.3 billion.

CFR is trading up 1.25% at $59.30 on Wednesday. The stock has been trading between $53.37 and $61.11 for the past 52 weeks.

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