Prosperity Bancshares (PB) in Houston, riding its recent wave of acquisitions, posted higher quarterly profit.

The $18.6 billion-asset company's fourth-quarter earnings rose 31% from a year earlier, to $63 million. At 98 cents a share, Prosperity beat the average estimate of analysts polled by Bloomberg by more than 7 cents. The company attributed the substantial jump in earnings to extensive loan growth, which rose more than 50% from the fourth quarter of 2012.

In the past 15 months, Prosperity has acquired four banks in Texas and Oklahoma. In August, Prosperity said it had agreed to buy the $2.6 billion-asset F&M Bancorp. (FMBC) in Tulsa, Okla.

Net interest income rose 34% from a year earlier, to $145.5 million, primarily because of a 23% increase in average interest-earning assets. The net interest margin expanded by 29 basis points from a year earlier, to 3.82%.

Noninterest income increased 4% from a year earlier, to $25.2 million, because of its recent acquisitions. Noninterest expense increased 20% from the fourth quarter of 2012, to $68.6 million, because of expenses associated with acquisitions.

The loan-loss provision nearly doubled from a year earlier, to $7.9 million. Net chargeoffs were $496,000 in the fourth quarter, compared to $1.9 million a year earlier.

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