BancorpSouth profits drop, company to sell stock

By The Associated Press

TUPELO, Miss. (AP) — BancorpSouth Inc. says fourth-quarter profit dropped even as it cut loan losses.

The regional bank, with $13 billion in assets, posted profit of $13.3 million, or 16 cents per share, in the last three months of 2011. That’s down 16 percent from $15.8 million, or 19 cents per share, in 2010’s fourth quarter.

Earnings topped the 14 cents per share predicted by analysts surveyed by FactSet.

The company said it would sell $100 million in stock, using the money for general purposes, including boosting capital or acquiring other banks and insurance agencies.

Despite the drop in profit, BancorpSouth officials said they were pleased with the results. They noted that the Tupelo, Miss., bank had cut its provision for future losses to $19.3 million in the fourth quarter.