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Thursday, January 18, 2001

First Hawaiian
parent’s net
rises 15.8%

BancWest's stock hits a
52-week high after posting
its best fourth quarter ever

By Russ Lynch

BancWest Corp.'s stock closed at a 52-week high today after the parent company of First Hawaiian Bank announced record fourth-quarter earnings.

First Hawaiian After the stock market closed yesterday, BancWest reported a fourth-quarter profit of $56.2 million, or 45 cents a share, up 15.8 percent from a net of $48.5 million, or 39 cents a share, in the year-earlier quarter. Excluding a one-time charge of $755,000, earnings for the latest quarter were $56.9 million, or 46 cents a share, in line with the estimates of Wall Street analysts who follow the company.

BancWest's stock rose 38 cents to close at $26.38 today, beating the previous 52-week closing high of $25.69 on Dec. 28.

The New York Stock Exchange-traded stock, which hit a 52-week low of $14.44 on Feb. 28, has gained about 53 percent in the past 12 months.

The nonrecurring charge in the latest quarter was related to BancWest's move to acquire 30 branches in New Mexico and Nevada from First Security Corp. Seven branches in Las Vegas were transferred to BancWest earlier this month and the other 23, mainly in the Albuquerque area, are scheduled to be transferred in mid-February.

Art Honolulu-based BancWest is also the parent of California's Bank of the West.

BancWest said it will incur about $2.7 million in pre-tax merger charges in the first quarter of this year, after which the added branches will bring moderate additional earnings this quarter.

BancWest ended 2000 with assets of $18.46 billion, up 10.6 percent from assets of $16.68 billion at the end of 1999. Loans and leases at year-end totaled $13.97 billion, up 11.6 percent from a year-earlier $12.52 billion, and deposits of $14.13 billion were up 9.7 percent from $12.88 billion.

Contributing to the increase was the July 1999 acquisition of the 20-branch SierraWest Bancorp.

For all of 2000, BancWest had a profit of $216.4 million, up 25.5 percent from $172.4 million in 1999 and equal to $1.73 a share, up from $1.38 a share in 1999.

Excluded restructuring and merger charges of $11.6 million in 1999 and $755,000 in 2000 after taxes, BancWest's annual operating profit was up 18 percent at $217.1 million, or $1.74 a share, from $184 million, or $1.48 a share, in 1999.

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