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First Niagara shares fall sharply after Q4 report

Rochester Business Journal
January 24, 2014

Shares of First Niagara Financial Group Inc. stock were down more than 10 percent in Friday afternoon trading.

The stock (NasdaqGS: FNFG) was trading at 3 p.m. at $9.22 a share, down from Thursday’s close of $10.34.

The Buffalo-based bank reported Friday its fourth-quarter net income jumped 31 percent.

Net income available to common shareholders was $70.1 million, or 20 cents a diluted share, compared with $56.3 million, or 15 cents a share, in the fourth quarter 2012.

Its earnings per share were in line with Street estimates. But its projection for 2014 operating income was below analysts’ expectations. Bloomberg reported the company project its operating income for 2014 will be 72 cents to 75 cents a share. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg were counting on 79 cents.

The year-ago quarter was affected by a $16 million pre-tax charge on First Niagara’s collateralized mortgage obligations portfolio and $3.7 million in pre-tax acquisition and restructuring expenses primarily related to the HSBC Bank USA N.A. purchase in May 2012.

Full-year net income available to shareholders totaled $265.1 million, or 75 cents a diluted share, up from $140.7 million, or 40 cents a share, in 2012.

“I am proud of all that we accomplished in 2013 despite the industry challenges,” First Niagara President and CEO Gary Crosby said in a statement.

Crosby was named president and CEO last month after serving on an interim basis since March 2013 following the departure of John Koelmel.

“I am thrilled to lead First Niagara through our next phase of evolution as a commercial bank and I firmly believe we can create long-term shareholder value by efficiently attracting, retaining and growing profitable customer relationships,” Crosby said.

“The decisions we make and the actions we take will be, and must be, driven by what is best for our customers and, ultimately, our shareholders.”

First Niagara Bank N.A. ranks fifth in the Rochester market with local deposits of $1.3 billion, data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. shows.

(c) 2014 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email service@rbj.net.


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