Sandy Spring Bancorp Net Income Down, Misses Estimates

Sandy Spring Bancorp, Inc., (Nasdaq:SASR), parent of Sandy Spring Bank, reported lower earnings for the fourth quarter of 2011 missing analyst estimates.

The Olney, Md-based bank said fourth quarter 2011 net income totaled $7.3 million or $0.30 cents per diluted share versus net income of $8.3 million or $0.34 cents per diluted share in 2010 and $11.3 million or $0.47 cents per diluted share in the third quarter of 2011.

Analysts had predicted fourth quarter earnings of $0.34 cents per share; the average estimate of 8 analysts.

Despite the lower fourth quarter earnings full year net income for 2011 was up 45 percent to $34.1 million or $1.41 cents per diluted share, compared to $23.5 million or $1.05 cents per diluted share in 2010.

"We are very pleased to report another quarter of increased loan growth even in the face of volatile financial markets and continued uneven economic conditions on both a regional and national level. This organic loan growth is an especially encouraging prospect in view of the anticipated infusion of additional quality loans in the coming year from our recently announced acquisition of CommerceFirst Bank," said Daniel J. Schrider, President and Chief Executive Officer. "We have proactively managed our funding costs to improve the mix of lower cost transaction accounts as compared to other higher cost funding sources.

By the end of 2011, Sandy Spring Bank had $3.711 billion in assets and $2.656 billion in deposits. The company recently announced a merger agreement with CommerceFirst Bancorp December 20, 2011. The acquisition of Annapolis-based CommerceFirst Bank would add an estimated $205 million in total assets, $181 million in gross loans, and $180 million in total deposits to Sandy Spring, along with its five branches in Anne Arundel, Howard and Prince George's counties

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