Moving a step closer to full independence, First Hawaiian in Honolulu is planning a secondary stock sale in which it will offer to the public shares currently owned by French banking giant BNP Paribas.

The $19.7 billion-asset First Hawaiian was spun off last year by BNP and its U.S. holding company, BancWest, though BNP still owns around 83% of the First Hawaiian's outstanding shares. In a news release Tuesday, First Hawaiian said that BNP and BancWest intend to sell a chunk of those shares, though it did not say how many or when the offering would take place.

Robert Harrison, chairman and CEO of First Hawaiian Bank.
First Hawaiian Chairman and CEO Bob Harrison said the fourth-quarter results capped off a "milestone year" for the bank.

First Hawaiian's shares began trading publicly in August. The shares were trading at $32.57 early Tuesday, up about 42% from their offering price.

Also on Tuesday, First Hawaiian released its first full quarterly results since the spinoff. In the three-month stretch that ended Dec. 31, the company reported a profit of $56.6 million, an increase of nearly 13% over the same period in 2015. Earnings per share climbed nearly 14% to 41 cents.

First Hawaiian attributed the increase to strong growth in residential and commercial real estate lending, which more than offset declines in construction and commercial and industrial loans. Total loans at Dec. 31 reached a record $11.5 billion.

Results were aided also by higher yields on investment securities, a 4% increase in fee income and improved efficiency. The company's efficiency ratio at Dec. 31 was 45.8%, compared to 49.1% at Dec. 31, 2015.

In a news release, First Hawaiian Chairman and CEO Bob Harrison said the results capped off a "milestone year" for the bank. "We are pleased with our performance in 2016, as we maintained our strategic approach to growing loans and deposits, while maintaining excellent credit quality."

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Alan Kline

Alan Kline

Alan Kline is a senior editor at American Banker overseeing its consumer finance and national/regional banking coverage. He also helps direct coverage of the annual Most Powerful Women in Banking rankings.