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October 29, 2013

First Financial Holdings, Inc. Reports Record Third Quarter 2013 Operating Income of $18.8 million Declares Quarterly Cash Dividend

COLUMBIA, S.C.—October 29, 2013—First Financial Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: SCBT) today released its unaudited results of operations and other financial information for the three-month and nine-month periods ended September 30, 2013. Highlights of the third quarter 2013 include the following:

  • Net income of $11.5 million, or $0.52 diluted EPS in 3Q 2013 compared to $12.5 million, or $0.74 diluted EPS in 2Q 2013 and $9.1 million, or $0.60 diluted EPS in 3Q 2012;
  • Operating earnings of $18.8 million, which exclude merger expense and include preferred stock dividends, or $0.85 diluted EPS in 3Q 2013 compared to $13.1 million, or $0.77 diluted EPS in 2Q 2013 and $9.4 million, or $0.63 diluted EPS in 3Q 2012;
  • On July 26, 2013, closed the merger transaction between SCBT Financial Corporation and the former First Financial Holding, Inc. (FFCH);
  • Return on average assets was 0.66% annualized in 3Q 2013 compared to 0.99% in 2Q 2013 and 0.83% in 3Q 2012; Operating return on average assets was 1.07% annualized in 3Q 2013 compared to 1.04% in 2Q 2013 and 0.87% in 3Q 2012;
  • Net charge-offs of non-acquired loans increased to 0.45% annualized in 3Q 2013, compared to 0.40% annualized in 2Q 2013 and decreased from 0.85% annualized in 3Q 2012; < li>Non-acquired non-performing assets (NPAs): 2.40% of total non-acquired loans and repossessed assets for 3Q 2013 compared to 2.56% for 2Q 2013 and 3.22% for 3Q 2012; and
  • Legacy loan growth was $75.6 million or 11.3% annualized during 3Q 2013.

Quarterly Cash Dividend

The Board of Directors of First Financial Holdings, Inc. has declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.19 per share payable on its common stock, and is 11.8% higher than the dividend paid in the third quarter of 2012. This per share amount is the same as the dividend paid in the immediately preceding quarter and will be payable on November 22, 2013 to shareholders of record as of November 15, 2013.

Third Quarter 2013 Financial Performance

Please refer to the accompanying tables for detailed comparative data on results of operations and financial results.

The Company reported consolidated net income of $11.5 million, or $0.52 per diluted share for the three months ended September 30, 2013 down from $12.5 million, or $0.74 per diluted share for the three months ended June 30, 2013. Driving this decrease from the second quarter was the following:

  • a significant increase in noninterest expense (due to merger cost and FFCH operating cost for 66 days of the quarter);
  • an increase in our effective tax rate from 33.0% to 36.1% driven by certain nondeductible merger related expenses; partially offset by
  • an increase in noninterest income (FFCH since closing); and
  • an increase in net interest income (FFCH since closing).

“We are pleased to report record operating earnings in the first quarter of combined operations following a major acquisition,” said Robert R Hill, Jr, CEO of First Financial Holdings, Inc. “Our company experienced solid organic growth and continued to add talented bankers to our team. We are also pleased with the strength of our capital position, the pace of integration, and the opportunities to further improve EPS in the coming quarters. This quarter demonstrates the strength of our recent merger both financially and strategically.”

Asset Quality

During the third quarter of 2013, SCBT continued to see improvement in asset quality with non-acquired nonperforming assets (NPAs) falling to 2.40% of total non-acquired loans and repossessed assets, as non-acquired NPAs declined by $2.5 million, compared to the second quarter of 2013 when the ratio was 2.56%. In addition, classified assets declined by $12.2 million to $111.4 million and 30-89 day past due loans declined by $2.4 million during the third quarter of 2013 as compared to the second quarter of 2013, which excludes any of the acquisitions.

At September 30, 2013, the allowance for non-acquired loan losses was $36.1 million or 1.32% of non-acquired period-end loans. The current allowance for loan losses provides 0.73 times coverage of period-end non-acquired nonperforming loans, which was equal to the same result at the end of the second quarter of 2013. Net charge-offs within the non-acquired portfolio were $3.0 million for the quarter or 0.45% annualized, up slightly from the second quarter of 2013 of $2.6 million or 0.40% annualized and down from the third quarter of 2012 of $5.3 million or 0.85% annualized. OREO costs increased to $3.5 million during the quarter, up from the second quarter amount of $2.8 million. This increase was the result of additional cost related to the 90 properties of OREO added from the FFCH merger. During the quarter, there were two properties with write-downs totaling $738,000 of the total write downs of $1.2 million. An additional 20 properties had write downs totaling $443,000.

Net Interest Income and Margin

Non-taxable equivalent net interest income was $79.7 million for the third quarter of 2013, a $24.4 million increase from the second quarter, resulting from the following:

  1. Interest income increased by approximately $26.2 million primarily from the addition of FFCH’s average interest-earning assets of approximately $1.7 billion;
  2. Offset by additional funding cost of $1.8 million, for deposits and other borrowings acquired in the FFCH merger. Interest-bearing liabilities increased by approximately $1.5 billion;

Tax-equivalent net interest margin increased 8 basis points from the third quarter of 2012 and 10 basis point from the second quarter of 2013 to 5.11%. The Company’s average yield on interest-earning assets increased 18 basis points while the average rate on interest-bearing liabilities increased 6 basis points from the second quarter of 2013. During the third quarter of 2013, the Company’s average total assets increased to approximately $7.2 billion and average earning assets increased to $6.3 billion. The growth in average earning assets was supported by growth in average interest-bearing liabilities of more than $1.5 billion.

Noninterest Income and Expense

Noninterest income was $15.3 million in the third quarter of 2013, up $6.8 million from the second quarter of 2013 and up $6.1 million from third quarter of 2012. Customer-oriented noninterest income (includes service charges, bankcard services, and trust and investment services) saw a significant $6.5 million increase due to the merger with FFCH during the quarter. The increases were partially offset by lower mortgage banking income due to the decline in the mortgage pipeline and reduced gains from loans sold in the secondary market, and a decline in the fair value of the hedges related to mortgage banking activity. In addition the negative accretion on the FDIC indemnification asset in the third quarter was $7.6 million, $315,000 more than the second quarter of 2013 and $1.0 million more than the third quarter of 2012. The increases in negative accretion were the result of the reduction of expected cash flows from the indemnification asset related to certain pools of acquired loans which had improved estimated cash flows. Other noninterest income increased from the second quarter of 2013 by $1.1 million, due primarily to an increase in recoveries from acquired assets and from the contribution related to the FFCH merger (including increases in cash surrender value of bank owned life insurance, rental income, and credit card fees).

Noninterest expense was $75.4 million in the third quarter of 2013, up from $30.5 million from the second quarter. This increase from the second quarter of 2013 was primarily due to $18.7 million of operational cost from the FFCH merger, $9.5 million in merger-related expense, and $2.4 million increase in salaries and employee benefits. The efficiency ratio for the quarter was 78.7%, up from 69.5% in the second quarter. Our operational efficiency ratio, which excludes merger expenses and OREO related expenses, was 64.3% compared to 63.8% in the second quarter.

FFCH Merger

On July 26, 2013, SCBT Financial Corporation acquired First Financial Holdings, Inc. and changed its name to First Financial Holdings, Inc. Below is a summary:

  • The total purchase price paid was $447.0 million. 7,018,274 common shares of SCBT were issued at a price of $54.34 per share and SCBT assumed the preferred stock outstanding of $65.0 million.
  • These shares were outstanding approximately 71.7% of the days in the quarter and increased the weighted average shares outstanding by approximately 5.1 million shares.
  • Total goodwill has been preliminarily determined to be $217.9 million, and other amortizing intangibles totaled $40.8 million.
  • Total fair value of assets acquired equaled $3.086 billion and total fair value of liabilities assumed equaled $2.857 billion.
  • At closing, all Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) advances assumed and totaling $255.9 million, which included a $21.8 million prepayment fee and unpaid interest of $1.1 million, were repaid to the FHLB. The prepayment fee was treated as a fair value adjustment in the acquisition of FFCH.
  • During the quarter, more than $175.3 million in securities were sold that were acquired from FFCH.

These included Private Label CMOs, Agency MBS, Municipal Bonds, and Trust Preferred CDOs. No gain or loss was recorded on the disposition of these securities.

Balance Sheet and Capital

At the end of the third quarter of 2013, SCBT’s total assets were $8.0 billion, up from $5.0 billion at June 30, 2013, related primarily to the acquisition of FFCH. Since September 30, 2012, the company’s balance sheet has grown by more than $3.7 billion, or 85.6%, due primarily to the fourth quarter 2012 closing of the Savannah acquisition and the current quarter acquisition of FFCH. The asset growth was spread among all asset categories, except FDIC receivable from loss share agreements and loans held for sale. The asset growth was supported primarily by $1.749 billion increase in core deposit growth, $46.5 million in increased trust preferred borrowings, and $446.4 million in additional capital from the acquisition of FFCH.

Book value per share increased to $40.31 compared to $30.33 at June 30, 2013, while tangible common equity per share declined to $21.76 from $23.09 at June 30, 2013. The increase in book value was the result of the merger with FFCH and the closing price of $54.34 per share. The decline in tangible common equity per share was the result of the fair value adjustments recorded for assets and liabilities in the acquisition of FFCH. In addition, tangible common equity to tangible assets equaled 6.85% at third quarter end down from 7.99% at the end of the second quarter.

The company’s Tier 1 leverage ratio is estimated to increase from 9.2% to slightly more than 10.0% at September 30, 2013. This is the result of an increased capital base relative to the average asset base from FFCH being included for approximately 70% of the quarter. The Company’s capital position remains “well-capitalized” by all measures at September 30, 2013.

“We are very pleased with the combination of SCBT and FFCH, and the actions taken during the quarter to reposition our balance sheet. Paying off FHLB advances, rebalancing the investment securities portfolio, continuing to reduce certificate of deposit balances, and establishing a $30.0 million line of credit at the bank holding company, which closed on Monday, positions our balance sheet for the future” said John C. Pollok, COO and CFO. “Our loan portfolio continues to improve as our exposure declines in certain risky assets, as evident by the continued decline in commercial real estate lending and in classified assets.”

SCBT Financial Corporation will hold a conference call on October 29th at 11 a.m. ET during which management will review earnings and performance trends. Callers wishing to participate may call toll-free by dialing 877-317-6016. The number for international participants is 412-317-6016. The conference ID number is 10034564. Participants can also listen to the live audio webcast through the Investor Relations section of A replay will be available beginning October 29th by 2:00 p.m. ET until 9:00 a.m. on November 15th. To listen to the replay, dial 877-344-7529 or 412-317-0088. The pass code is 10034564.

First Financial Holdings, Inc., (SCBT) Columbia, South Carolina is a registered bank holding company incorporated under the laws of South Carolina. The Company consists of SCBT, the Bank and the following divisions: NCBT, Community Bank & Trust, The Savannah Bank, and First Federal. The Bank also operates Minis & Co., Inc. and First Southeast 401k Fiduciaries, both wholly owned registered investment advisors; and First Southeast Investor Services, a wholly owned broker dealer. Providing financial services for over 79 years, First Financial Holdings, Inc. operates 146 locations in 19 South Carolina counties, 12 Georgia counties, and 4 North Carolina counties. First Financial Holdings, Inc. has assets of approximately $8.0 billion and its stock is traded under the symbol SCBT in the NASDAQ Global Select Market. More information can be found at

Non-GAAP Measures

Statements included in this press release include non-GAAP measures and should be read along with the accompanying tables which provide a reconciliation of non-GAAP measures to GAAP measures. Management believes that these non-GAAP measures provide additional useful information. Non-GAAP measures should not be considered as an alternative to any measure of performance or financial condition as promulgated under GAAP, and investors should consider the company's performance and financial condition as reported under GAAP and all other relevant information when assessing the performance or financial condition of the company. Non-GAAP measures have limitations as analytical tools, and investors should not consider them in isolation or as a substitute for analysis of the company's results or financial condition as reported under GAAP.


Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward Looking Statements

Statements included in this report which are not historical in nature are intended to be, and are hereby identified as, forward looking statements for purposes of the safe harbor provided by Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Forward looking statements generally include words such as “expects,” “projects,” “anticipates,” “believes,” “intends,” “estimates,” “strategy,” “plan,” “potential,” “possible” and other similar expressions. The Company cautions readers that forward looking statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from anticipated results. Such risks and uncertainties, include, among others, the following possibilities: (1) the outcome of any legal proceedings instituted against the Company; (2) credit risks associated with an obligor’s failure to meet the terms of any contract with the bank or otherwise fail to perform as agreed under the terms of any loan-related document; (3) interest risk involving the effect of a change in interest rates on the bank’s earnings, the market value of the bank's loan and securities portfolios, and the market value of the Company's equity; (4) liquidity risk affecting the bank’s ability to meet its obligations when they come due; (5) risks associated with an anticipated increase in the Company's investment securities portfolio, including risks associated with acquiring and holding investment securities or potentially determining that the amount of investment securities the Company desires to acquire are not available on terms acceptable to the Company; (6) price risk focusing on changes in market factors that may affect the value of traded instruments in “mark-to-market” portfolios; (7) transaction risk arising from problems with service or product delivery; (8) compliance risk involving risk to earnings or capital resulting from violations of or nonconformance with laws, rules, regulations, prescribed practices, or ethical standards; (9) regulatory change risk resulting from new laws, rules, regulations, accounting principles, proscribed practices or ethical standards, including, without limitation, increased capital requirements (including, without limitation, the impact of the capital rules adopted to implement Basel III), Consumer Financial Protection Bureau rules and regulations, and potential changes in accounting principles relating to loan loss recognition; (10) strategic risk resulting from adverse business decisions or improper implementation of business decisions; (11) reputation risk that adversely affects earnings or capital arising from negative public opinion; (12) terrorist activities risk that results in loss of consumer confidence and economic disruptions; (13) cybersecurity risk related to our dependence on internal computer systems and the technology of outside service providers, as well as the potential impacts of third-party security breaches, subjects the company to potential business disruptions or financial losses resulting from deliberate attacks or unintentional events; (14) economic downturn risk potentially resulting in deterioration in the credit markets, greater than expected non-interest expenses, excessive loan losses and other negative consequences, which risks could be exacerbated by potential negative economic developments resulting from federal spending cuts and/or one or more federal budget-related impasses or actions; (15) greater than expected noninterest expenses; (16) excessive loan losses; (17) failure to realize synergies and other financial benefits from, and to limit liabilities associates with, mergers and acquisitions, including, without limitation, mergers with The Savannah Bancorp, Inc. (“Savannah”) and First Financial Holdings, Inc. ("FFCH"), within the expected time frame; (18) potential deposit attrition, higher than expected costs, customer loss and business disruption associated with merger and acquisition integration, including, without limitation, with respect to Savannah and FFCH, and including, without limitation, potential difficulties in maintaining relationships with key personnel and other integration related-matters; (19) the risks of fluctuations in market prices for Company common stock that may or may not reflect economic condition or performance of the Company; (20) the payment of dividends on Company common stock is subject to regulatory supervision as well as the discretion of the board of directors of the Company, the Company's performance and other factors; and (21) other risks and uncertainties disclosed in the Company's most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the SEC or disclosed in documents filed or furnished by the Company with or to the SEC after the filing of such Annual report on Form 10-K, any of which could cause actual results to differ materially from future results expressed, implied or otherwise anticipated by such forward looking statements. The Company undertakes no obligation to update or otherwise revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.

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