Banking & Finance

Will Hudson City Bancorp Earnings Continue to Weigh Down Its Merger Hopes?

Hudson City Bancorp Inc. (NASDAQ: HCBK) reported its first-quarter financial results Wednesday before the markets opened. The bank had $0.01 in earnings per share (EPS) on $75.6 million in net interest income, falling below Thomson Reuters consensus estimates of $0.02 in EPS on $88.30 million in net interest income. In the same period of the previous year, Hudson City posted EPS of $0.09 and $132.34 million in net interest income.

The company’s board of directors did not declare a dividend for the first quarter of 2015. According to Hudson City, the decision was made after the board considered the level of earnings for the first quarter, the importance of paying dividends out of current earnings and the regulatory evaluation of any dividend request.

At the end of March, short-term liquid assets, consisting of overnight funds and U.S. Treasury securities, amounted to $10.2 billion with a weighted average yield of 0.26%.

The Hudson City’s Tier 1 leverage capital ratio was 11.83% as of March 31, 2015. The bank’s Tier 1 risk-based capital ratio and Common Equity Tier 1 risk-based capital ratio were both 30.00% at that time.

The interest rate spread and net interest margin were 0.53% and 0.85%, respectively, for the first quarter, compared to 1.12% and 1.41%, respectively, in 2014.

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Hudson City reported its stated book value as $9.56 per share, and its tangible book value as $9.25 per share.

Total deposits decreased $467.5 million, or 2.4%, to $18.91 billion at the end of March 2015, from $19.38 billion at the end of December 2014, due to the bank’s decision to maintain lower deposit rates.

Denis Salamone, chairman and CEO, commented on the first quarter:

This has certainly been a challenging quarter for us. The latest unexpected delay in the Merger contributed to the first quarter’s weak earnings. We believe future earnings can be improved significantly in the short-term by a balance sheet restructuring and in the longer-term by execution of the other strategic initiatives. However, both of these actions are complicated by the pendency of the Merger.

Salamone continued on the subject of the merger:

We firmly believe that the M&T transaction remains financially attractive to Hudson City’s shareholders, and that continuing to pursue completion is in the best interest of Hudson City and the communities we serve. As a result, we remain committed to the Merger. Assuming market conditions remain stable, we anticipate additional margin compression during the pendency of the Merger, but securities gains that are more in-line with those of the fourth quarter of 2014.

Total cash and cash equivalents decreased $113.0 million to $6.17 billion as of March 31, 2015, as compared to $6.29 billion on December 31, 2014.

Shares of Hudson City dropped about 3% to $9.10 just after the opening bell Wednesday. The stock has a consensus analyst price target of $9.59 and a 52-week trading range of $8.53 to $10.77.

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