NewAlliance Bancshares Inc. in New Haven, Conn., reported a 25% increase in annual net income Tuesday.

The $9 billion-asset company, which is set to be acquired by First Niagara Financial Group, earned $58 million in 2010, or 59 cents a share, compared with $46.4 million, or 47 cents a share, in 2009. Excluding expenses related to the merger, NewAlliance said net income would have been $69.7 million, a 50% increase.

Net income declined slightly for the fourth quarter, to $11.3 million, from $12.2 million, because of the merger expenses. NewAlliance missed analysts' earnings per share estimates, recording just 11 cents a share, compared with the 17-cent consensus.

Loan originations grew 45% from a year earlier, and total loan balances increased 7%, to $5.1 billion.

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