Market Overview

Park National Corporation reports 2018 financial results and announces next step in leadership succession


NEWARK, Ohio, Jan. 28, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Park National Corporation (Park) (NYSE:PRK) today reported increased net income and earnings per share among its financial results for the fourth quarter and full year of 2018 (three and twelve months ended December 31, 2018).

Park's net income for the fourth quarter of 2018 was $26.3 million, a 15.0 percent increase from $22.8 million for the fourth quarter of 2017. Fourth quarter 2018 net income per diluted common share was $1.67, compared to $1.48 in the fourth quarter of 2017. Increased net interest income and increased non-interest income helped contribute to Park's fourth quarter performance.

Park's net income for the full year 2018 was $110.4 million, a 31.0 percent increase from $84.2 million for the same period in 2017. Net income per diluted common share was $7.07 for 2018, compared to $5.47 for 2017.

Park's community-banking subsidiary, The Park National Bank, reported net income of $26.1 million for the fourth quarter of 2018, a 7.0 percent increase from $24.4 million reported for the fourth quarter of 2017. The bank's net income was $109.5 million for the full year 2018, compared to $87.3 million for the same period in 2017.

"Our success in 2018 is the result of many factors, none more important than our bankers' unwavering dedication and consistent hard work. From our most tenured bankers to our newest colleagues, each person played a critical role in producing excellent results," said Park Chief Executive Officer (CEO) David L. Trautman.

Charlotte-based NewDominion Bank joined Park on July 1, 2018. On September 13, 2018 Park announced a definitive agreement and plan of merger and reorganization with CAB Financial Corporation (OTCQX:CABF) based in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Park expects to close the transaction in the first half of 2019 (subject to customary closing conditions).

Park's board of directors declared a quarterly cash dividend of $1.01 per common share and a special cash dividend of $0.20 per common share, payable on March 8, 2019 to common shareholders of record as of February 15, 2019.  The board also authorized Park to repurchase, from time to time following receipt of any required regulatory approvals, up to 500,000 Park common shares in addition to the 500,000 Park common shares which had been authorized for repurchase by Park's board of directors on January 23, 2017 and currently remain available for repurchase. The authorizations result in an aggregate of up to 1,000,000 Park common shares being available for repurchase under the stock repurchase authorizations in the future.

The Park board proposed to take action to approve a plan for changes in executive leadership and governance at the Park board meeting immediately following Park's annual shareholder meeting on April 22, 2019.

Park's CEO David L. Trautman will be elected chairman of the board, as current Chairman C. Daniel DeLawder will continue employment in a reduced capacity and remain chair of the Park board's executive committee. Trautman will retain the CEO role, and Park's Executive Vice President Matthew R. Miller will be elected to serve as president and a member of the boards of directors for each of The Park National Bank and Park National Corporation. These changes will be effective May 1, 2019.

"We have a great history of carefully planned leadership succession at Park, and we're following the model that has served our organization so well for several generations. Our consistent approach to leadership transition helps preserve our culture and community banking values," said DeLawder, who has 48 years of service with Park. He has not announced a timeline for his official retirement.

At the April meeting, Park's board will increase the number of directors from 13 to 14, and the additional director (Miller) will serve in the class of directors whose terms expire in 2020.

Headquartered in Newark, Ohio, Park National Corporation had $7.8 billion in total assets (as of December 31, 2018). The Park organization consists of 11 community bank divisions, a non-bank subsidiary and two specialty finance companies. Park's banking operations are conducted through Park subsidiary The Park National Bank and its divisions, which include Fairfield National Bank Division, Richland Bank Division, Century National Bank Division, First-Knox National Bank Division, United Bank, N.A. Division, Second National Bank Division, Security National Bank Division, Unity National Bank Division, The Park National Bank of Southwest Ohio & Northern Kentucky Division, and NewDominion Bank Division. The Park organization also includes Scope Leasing, Inc. (d.b.a. Scope Aircraft Finance), Guardian Financial Services Company (d.b.a. Guardian Finance Company) and SE Property Holdings, LLC.

Complete financial tables are listed below…

Media contact: Bethany Lewis, 740.349.0421,
Investor contact: Brady Burt, 740.322.6844,
Park National Corporation, 50 N. Third Street, Newark, Ohio 43055

Park cautions that any forward-looking statements contained in this Current Report on Form 8-K or made by management of Park are provided to assist in the understanding of anticipated future financial performance. Forward-looking statements provide current expectations or forecasts of future events and are not guarantees of future performance.  The forward-looking statements are based on management's expectations and are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties.  Although management believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied in such statements.  Risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially include, without limitation: Park's ability to execute our business plan successfully and within the expected timeframe; general economic and financial market conditions, specifically in the real estate markets and the credit markets, either nationally or in the states in which Park and our subsidiaries do business, may experience a slowing or reversal of the recent economic expansion in addition to continuing residual effects of recessionary conditions and an uneven spread of positive impacts of recovery on the economy and our counterparties, resulting in adverse impacts on the demand for loan, deposit and other financial services, delinquencies, defaults and counterparties' ability to meet credit and other obligations and the possible impairment of collectability of loans; changes in interest rates and prices may adversely impact prepayment penalty income, mortgage banking income, the value of securities, loans, deposits and other financial instruments and the interest rate sensitivity of our consolidated balance sheet as well as reduce interest margins and impact loan demand; changes in consumer spending, borrowing and saving habits, whether due to the tax reform legislation, changing business and economic conditions, legislative and regulatory initiatives, or other factors; changes in unemployment; changes in customers', suppliers', and other counterparties' performance and creditworthiness; the adequacy of our risk management program in the event of changes in the market, economic, operational, asset/liability repricing, liquidity, credit and interest rate risks associated with Park's business; disruption in the liquidity and other functioning of U.S. financial markets; our liquidity requirements could be adversely affected by changes to regulations governing bank and bank holding company capital and liquidity standards as well as by changes in our assets and liabilities; competitive factors among financial services organizations could increase significantly, including product and pricing pressures, changes to third-party relationships and our ability to attract, develop and retain qualified banking professionals; customers could pursue alternatives to bank deposits, causing us to lose a relatively inexpensive source of funding; uncertainty regarding the nature, timing, cost and effect of changes in banking regulations or other regulatory or legislative requirements affecting the respective businesses of Park and our subsidiaries, including major reform of the regulatory oversight structure of the financial services industry and changes in laws and regulations concerning taxes, pensions, bankruptcy, consumer protection, rent regulation and housing, financial accounting and reporting, environmental protection, insurance, bank products and services, bank capital and liquidity standards, fiduciary standards, securities and other aspects of the financial services industry, specifically the reforms provided for in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (the "Dodd-Frank Act") and the Basel III regulatory capital reforms, as well as regulations already adopted and which may be adopted in the future by the relevant regulatory agencies, including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the Federal Reserve Board, to implement the Dodd-Frank Act's provisions, and the Basel III regulatory capital reforms; the effects of easing restrictions on participants in the financial services industry; the effect of changes in accounting policies and practices, as may be adopted by the Financial Accounting Standards Board, the SEC, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board and other regulatory agencies, and the accuracy of our assumptions and estimates used to prepare our financial statements; changes in law and policy accompanying the current presidential administration, including the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, and uncertainty or speculation pending the enactment of such changes; significant changes in the tax laws, which may adversely affect the fair values of net deferred tax assets and obligations of state and political subdivisions held in Park's investment securities portfolio; the impact of our ability to anticipate and respond to technological changes on our ability to respond to customer needs and meet competitive demands; operational issues stemming from and/or capital spending necessitated by the potential need to adapt to industry changes in information technology systems on which Park and our subsidiaries are highly dependent; the ability to secure confidential information and deliver products and services through the use of computer systems and telecommunications networks; a failure in or breach of our operational or security systems or infrastructure, or those of our third-party vendors and other service providers, resulting in failures or disruptions in customer account management, general ledger, deposit, loan, or other systems, including as a result of cyber attacks; the existence or exacerbation of general geopolitical instability and uncertainty; the effect of trade policies (including the impact of tariffs, a U.S. withdrawal from or significant renegotiation of trade agreements, trade wars and other changes in trade regulations), monetary and other fiscal policies (including the impact of money supply and interest rate policies to the Federal Reserve Board) and other governmental policies of the U.S. federal government; the impact on financial markets and the economy of any changes in the credit ratings of the U.S. Treasury obligations and other U.S. government - backed debt, as well as issues surrounding the levels of U.S., European and Asian government debt and concerns regarding the creditworthiness of certain sovereign governments, supranationals and financial institutions in Europe and Asia; the uncertainty surrounding the actions to be taken to implement the referendum by United Kingdom voters to exit the European Union; our litigation and regulatory compliance exposure, including the costs and effects of any adverse developments in legal proceedings or other claims and the costs and effects of unfavorable resolution of regulatory and other governmental examinations or other inquiries; continued availability of earnings and excess capital sufficient for the lawful and prudent declaration of dividends; fraud, scams and schemes of third parties; the impact of widespread natural and other disasters, pandemics, dislocations, civil unrest, terrorist activities or international hostilities on the economy and financial markets generally and on us or our counterparties specifically; the effect of healthcare laws in the U.S. and potential changes for such laws which may increase our healthcare and other costs and negatively impact our operations and financial results; Park's ability to integrate recent acquisitions (including NewDominion Bank) as well as any future acquisitions, which may be unsuccessful, or may be more difficult, time-consuming or costly than expected; the ability to complete the proposed merger of Park and CAB Financial Corporation ("CAB") on the proposed terms and within the expected time frame; the risk that the businesses of Park and CAB will not be integrated successfully or such integration may be more difficult, time-consuming or costly than expected; expected revenue synergies and cost savings from the proposed merger of Park and CAB may not be fully realized or realized within the expected time frame; revenues following the proposed merger of Park and CAB may be lower than expected; customer and employee relationships and business operations may be disrupted by the proposed merger of Park and CAB; Park issued equity securities in the acquisition of NewDominion Bank and may issue equity securities in connection with future acquisitions, including the proposed merger of Park and CAB, if consummated, which could cause ownership and economic dilution to Park's current shareholders; the discontinuation of LIBOR and other reference rates which may result in increased expenses and litigation, and adversely impact the effectiveness of hedging strategies; and other risk factors relating to the banking industry as detailed from time to time in Park's reports filed with the SEC including those described in "Item 1A. Risk Factors" of Part I of Park's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2017. Park does not undertake, and specifically disclaims any obligation, to publicly release the results of any revisions that may be made to update any forward-looking statement to reflect the events or circumstances after the date on which the forward-looking statement was made, or reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events, except to the extent required by law.

Financial Highlights
As of or for the three months ended December 31, 2018, September 30, 2018, and December 31, 2017          
  2018 2018 2017   Percent change vs.
(in thousands, except share and per share data) 4th QTR 3rd QTR 4th QTR   3Q '18 4Q '17
Net interest income $ 69,630   $ 67,676   $ 63,478     2.9 % 9.7 %
Provision for (recovery of) loan losses 3,359   2,940   (183 )   14.3 % N.M.  
Other income 26,892   24,064   23,238     11.8 % 15.7 %
Other expense 62,597   59,316   53,439     5.5 % 17.1 %
Income before income taxes $ 30,566   $ 29,484   $ 33,460     3.7 % (8.6 ) %
Income taxes 4,305   4,722   10,629     (8.8 )% (59.5 ) %
Net income $ 26,261   $ 24,762   $ 22,831     6.1 % 15.0 %
MARKET DATA:                
Earnings per common share - basic (b) $ 1.67   $ 1.58   $ 1.49     5.7 % 12.1 %
Earnings per common share - diluted (b) 1.67   1.56   1.48     7.1 % 12.8 %
Cash dividends declared per common share 0.96   0.96   0.94     % 2.1 %
Book value per common share at period end 53.03   51.58   49.46     2.8 % 7.2 %
Market price per common share at period end 84.95   105.56   104.00     (19.5 )% (18.3 )%
Market capitalization at period end 1,333,560   1,655,870   1,589,972     (19.5 )% (16.1 )%
Weighted average common shares - basic (a) 15,695,522   15,686,542  
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