Hancock Holding in Gulfport, Miss., reported lower profit as low oil prices stymied loan growth in the energy sector.

The $20.7 billion-asset company reported an 18% decline in first-quarter net income from a year earlier, to $40.2 million. Earnings per share of 49 cents missed the average estimate of analysts polled by Bloomberg by 5 cents.

Net interest income fell 4% from a year earlier, to $158.2 million.

Total loans rose nominally from the end of last year, to $13.9 billion. While Hancock's lending in Florida and Alabama increased, its energy portfolio shrank by $50 million from a quarter earlier, to about $1.7 billion.

Noninterest income was relatively flat from a year earlier, at $56.5 million. Service charges fell, while fees from secondary mortgages rose.

Noninterest expenses increased about 5% from a year earlier, to $153.5 million. The company has worked in recent years to trim costs, recently selling four Houston branches.

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