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Analysts disappointed in IBERIABANK's 2018 guidance estimates

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Analysts disappointed in IBERIABANK's 2018 guidance estimates

Analysts were disappointed that IBERIABANK Corp. expects softer revenue and loan growth in 2018, following the release of the company's annual projections.

In its annual future forecast released Dec. 19, IBERIA said it expects consolidated loan growth of 15% to 17% and consolidated deposit growth of 17% to 21%. Average earning assets should reach $27.3 billion to $27.7 billion. Those numbers fell below expectations of numerous analysts, with some going so far as to downgrade the bank.

In its statement, IBERIA CFO Anthony Restel said the bank's projections included the continued headwinds it is encountering in mortgages, which impact both non-interest income and expenses as that business is streamlined, as well as the previously announced $10 million expense initiative that should wind down at the end of the first quarter. He also added that even though the bank excluded changes in the forward curve, it would increase the projected net interest margin by 6 basis points.

Raymond James analyst Michael Rose downgraded the bank on Dec. 20 from "strong buy" to "outperform." In a report, he wrote that the company's revenue guidance missed his estimates for average earning assets, loan growth, fee income and net interest margin. He did note that the bank's guidance specified it excluded any anticipated changes in interest rates or the impact of tax reform.

The release served to essentially walk down the expectations of analysts and investors, "which is disappointing," wrote Hovde Group analyst Joseph Fenech in a Dec. 20 report. Although he adjusted his EPS expectations after the release, down 5 cents for the year for both 2018 and 2019, he said the share price accurately reflects the bank's "subpar" profitability profile.

There may be some upside for investors that the bank can achieve higher profits, wrote FIG Partners analyst Christopher Marinac in a Dec. 20 report. IBERIA had no comments about the impact of a potentially lower federal tax rate, but that could increase EPS by 58 cents, he wrote. Marinac added that the new guidance hints at weakness in the mortgage operations that could go beyond the operating environment or seasonal issues, which investors will want to watch.