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Newly Merged First Financial – Four Billionaires Buy or Add SCBT
Posted by: Sally Jones (IP Logged)
Date: November 27, 2013 05:23PM

In July 2013, the merger between SCBT Financial Corporation and First Financial Holding Inc.’s subsidiary, First Federal Bank, was completed. The combined company is now the largest publicly traded bank holding company headquartered in South Carolina, ranking fifth statewide, by deposit market share. This merger explains why all five guru stakeholders sold out their First Financial Holdings Inc. (FFCH) as of the third quarter. The newly merged company is also called First Financial Holdings Inc., but trades under a new stock ticker SCBT.

First Financial’s CEO Robert R. Hill Jr. commented in a company press release: “We are very pleased to announce the completion of the largest in-state merger in South Carolina history. I am equally pleased with the very strong shareholder and customer support…Together, these long standing banking institutions create a very convenient bank for our customers while retaining local decisions, local leadership and a community bank culture.”

First Financial Holdings Inc. (SCBT) reported financial results for the third quarter of 2013 with net income of $11.5 million, compared to $9.1 million in the same quarter of 2012. Earnings of $0.52 per share were down from a year ago at $0.60 per diluted share. In the third quarter of 2013, the banking company had operating earnings of $18.8 million, compared to $9.4 million in the same quarter of 2012. Earnings of $0.85 per diluted share in the reporting quarter have increased from $0.63 in the same quarter of 2012.

In the third quarter of 2013, five billionaires sold out FFHC including Hotchkis & Wiley, Private Capital Management, Chuck Royce, Jim Simons and First Eagle Investment Management. All of these billionaires bought or added SCBT in the third quarter, except for First Eagle. On exiting FFHC, the gurus gained 0.9% in the sellout, after high gains. Here’s a look at the transition trades.



First Financial Holdings Inc. (SCBT)

Up 75% over 12 months, First Financial Holdings Inc. (SCBT) has a market cap of $1.59 billion; its shares were traded at around $65.89 with a P/E ratio of 29.00. The dividend yield is 1.10%.



Guru Action: In the third quarter of 2013, two billionaire investors made new buys of SCBT, and two more increased their positions.

As of Sept. 30, 2013, Private Capital Management made a new buy of 58,601 SCBT shares in the average price range of $54.79 per share, for a gain of 20.4%.

In the same quarter, Hotchkis & Wiley also made a new buy of 93,250 shares or 0.39% of shares outstanding.

As of Sept. 30, 2013, Jim Simons increased his position by 125.93%, buying 78,911shares at an average price of $54.79 per share, also gaining 20.4%.

He has averaged a gain of 33% on 146,535 shares bought at an average price of $49.65 per share. On shares sold, Simons also averaged a gain of 46% on 4,959 shares sold at an average price of $45.23 per share.

In the same quarter, Chuck Royce increased his position by 83.51%, buying 83,316 shares at an average price of $54.79, for a gain of 20.4%.

Overall, Royce gained 32% on 183,086 shares bought at an average price of $49.89 per share.

Check out the gurus and insiders trading SCBT.

Update on First Financial Holdings Inc. (FFCH)

Up 75% over 12 months, First Financial Holdings Inc. (FFCH) has a market cap of $378.63 million; its shares were traded at around $22.99 with a P/E ratio of 13.40. The company does not pay a dividend.

All five guru stakeholders sold out in the third quarter.

Guru Action: As of Sept. 30, 2013, Private Capital Management sold out its FFCH, selling 145,088 shares in the average price range of $22.79 per share, for a gain of 0.9%, the trading history’s low point.

Check out this remarkable five-year history of only gains.

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Check out the one insider buy in 2013.

Track share pricing, revenue and net income:





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Guru Discussed: Private Capital: Current Portfolio, Stock Picks
Jim Simons: Current Portfolio, Stock Picks
Stocks Discussed: SCBT, FFCH,
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