First Financial Holdings (SCBT) of Columbia, S.C., reported net income Tuesday of $13.2 million for the fourth quarter of 2013, a 44.7% increase from the same quarter in 2012.

The substantial rise in net income for the quarter was fueled by its $447 million acquisition of First Financial Holdings in July. (The company was known as SCBT Financial until the acquisition, when it assumed First Financial's name.) The $7.9 billion-asset company earned 55 cents per share, missed estimates of analysts polled by Bloomberg by more than three cents.

"We are also on track with our merger integration and achieving our efficiency targets," First Financial Holdings chief executive Robert Hill Jr. said in a press release Tuesday. "We experienced a mortgage volume decline this quarter as a result of the rising rate environment, and saw some margin compression linked quarter. Overall, 2013 was a record year for our company. With our merger integration going well and our branding change scheduled for this summer, we are optimistic about the opportunities in 2014."

First Financial's net interest income for the fourth quarter of 2013 was $84.4 million, a 76% increase from the fourth quarter of 2012. Net interest income rose by $4.7 million from the third quarter of 2013 thanks primarily to a $455.7 million increase in the average balance of acquired loans, resulting from the full quarter effect of FFCH acquired loans.

Noninterest income grew to $20.7 million, up $9.8 million from the fourth quarter of 2012 due to the acquisition. Noninterest expense was $83.9 million, a 74.3% increase, again due to the merger.

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