Simmons First National Corporation announced Tuesday a record net income of $215.7 million for 2018 compared to $92.9 million for 2017, an increase of $122.8 million, or 132.1 percent, according to a company news release.


Diluted earnings per share were $2.32 for 2018, an increase of $0.99, or 74.4 percent compared to prior year. Included in the 2018 results were $4.5 million in net after-tax merger-related and branch right-sizing costs. Excluding the impact of these items, core earnings were $220.2 million for the year ending Dec. 31, 2018, compared to $119.0 million for 2017, an increase of $101.2 million, or 85.0 percent.


Core diluted earnings per share were $2.37, an increase of $0.67, or 39.4 percent, from the same period in 2017.


Fourth quarter 2018 net income was $55.6 million, or $0.60 diluted earnings per share, compared to $18.9 million, or $0.22 diluted earnings per share, for the same period in 2017. Excluding $805,000 in net after-tax merger-related and branch right-sizing costs, fourth quarter 2018 core earnings were $56.5 million, an increase of $14.4 million compared to the same period in 2017.


“We had a remarkable year,” George A. Makris, Jr., chairman and CEO of Simmons, said.


Makris continued, “In addition to producing record financial results, we completed two successful system conversions for the banks acquired in late 2017 and a 2-for-1 stock split. We also announced yet another acquisition that will be completed this year. Throughout 2018, we experienced excellent organic growth in all our markets and balanced year-to-date loan yields with deposit costs in a rising-rate environment, all the while sustaining our reputable asset quality.


“This past year, we focused on improving our delivery of products and services to our customers throughout our existing footprint. We will carry this momentum into 2019 as we continue to focus on improving our business processes, expanding our customer relationships and closing our acquisition of Reliance Bancshares.”