BancorpSouth to Take $11M Hit for Early-Retirement Program

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BancorpSouth (BXS) in Tupelo, Miss., will take a $10.9 million charge for an early-retirement program meant to cut costs in the long term and an additional charge is possible.

Five percent of the $13.4 billion-asset company's work force accepted a package that includes improved pension benefits, the company said Monday. The early-retirement program is expected to save BancorpSouth approximately $9 million per year.

BancorpSouth offered voluntary early retirement to 418 employees, or approximately 10% of its 4,231 workers, it announced last month. Of those, 227 accepted the offer. The offer ended May 23.

The program is said to provide improved pension payments either through a lump-sum payment or an annuity. The company may take an additional charge of between $8 million and $10 million if the number of employees who choose the lump sum exceeds a certain threshold, it said.

BancorpSouth Chief Executive Dan Rollins has told analysts he wants to cut costs. Rollins succeeded Aubrey Patterson as CEO in November.

"We are thankful for the contributions of each and every individual who has chosen to participate," Rollins said in a news release. "The acceptance rate confirms the confidence management had that the program provided pension enhancements that are reflective of each individual's value and service to our company."

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