United Community Banks (UCBI) in Blairsville, Ga., has amended its fourth-quarter and 2012 results to reflect a legal settlement.

The $6.8 billion-asset company said Friday that a settlement with FILB Co-Investments will add $4 million to its previously reported operating expenses. FILB had filed a lawsuit in federal court against United Community last summer for alleged breach of contract

The new expenses lowered United Community's fourth-quarter earnings by 43%, to $5.26 million, and its 2012 net income by 11%, to $33.9 million, the company said. "While we strongly viewed the litigation as being without merit, the settlement will allow us to avoid a long and costly legal process," Jimmy Tallent, United Community's chief executive, said in a press release.

FILB claimed in its lawsuit that United Community broke an agreement to sell shares of the banking company's preferred stock as part of a pact with Fletcher International, FILB's predecessor.

"While we strongly viewed the litigation as being without merit, the settlement will allow us to avoid a long and costly legal process," Tallent said.

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