United earnings still on the rise

PARKERSBURG- United Bank had another successful year in 2012 as it continued to increase earnings to shareholders, the chairman and CEO told shareholders Monday.

United Bankshares Inc. officials, at the annual meeting of shareholders Monday at the Blennerhassett Hotel, said the company was able to continue to thrive in the economic conditions brought on by the Great Recession of 2008.

“We were able to increase the dividends to shareholders for the 39th consecutive year,” said Richard Adams, United Bankshares chairman and CEO. “We are one of only two major banking companies in the USA to achieve such a record, which is evidence of our consistent profitability, solid asset quality, and sound capital position.

“For the year, dividends per share increased from $1.21 to $1.24. Before-tax earnings increased from $110 million to $121 million, with earnings per share increasing from $1.61 to $1.64.”

The impact from the recession continues to create challenges for United and the banking industry.

“However, Wall Street security analysts are projecting an increase in United earnings for 2013,” Adams said. “The first quarter of this year, earnings were up from 2012 to 2013. When I left the office today, the stock was up nine percent for the year at $26.54. So we are off to a good start in 2013. We hope to increase our dividends to our shareholders for the 40th consecutive year.”

United’s continued strength in the market depends on its dedicated employees.

“As in the past, teamwork is a key ingredient to our success,” Adams said. “Our competitive advantage is our people. Working together we can continue to build a great banking company.”

Adams paid tribute to director emeritus Warren Thornhill, who passed away recently.

“He was a great guy, a true gentleman and a tremendous asset to our company,” he said. “He will be deeply missed.”

During the meeting, it was announced that the following people were elected by the shareholders to serve on the board of directors until the next annual meeting in 2014: Richard M. Adams, chairman and chief executive officer; Robert G. Astorg, CPA and managing member of Astorg and Koreski, PLLC; W. Gaston Caperton III, chairman of the Caperton Group and former governor of West Virginia; Lawrence K. Doll, president of The Lawrence Doll Co. and Lawrence Doll Homes, LLC; Theodore J. Georgelas, managing director of the Georgelas Group, LLC; F.T. Graff Jr., attorney and senior partner of Bowles Rice LLP; Douglas J. Leech, former chairman, president and chief executive officer of Centra Financial Holdings Inc.; John M. McMahon, chairman, Miller & Long Co. Inc.; J. Paul McNamara, chairman, Potomac Capital Advisors; Mark R. Nesselroad, chief executive officer, Glenmark Holding LLC; William C. Pitt III, former president and chief executive officer, The Greenbrier and CSX Hotel; Donald L. Unger, former president and chief executive officer of the Shenandoah Valley region of United Bank; Mary K. Weddle, CPA and senior vice president of Long & Foster Real Estate Inc.; Gary G. White, president and chief executive officer, International Resource Partners LP, and P. Clinton Winter Jr., president of Bray & Oakley Insurance Agency.

United has consolidated assets of approximately $8.3 billion with 115 full-service offices in West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C.

According to the New York investment banking firm Raymond James & Associates, “With a fortress balance sheet, a strong currency, and geographic positioning in one of the best economic markets in the country, United is well-positioned for growth both organically and through acquisitions.”

In 2012, the company fully integrated the 28th acquisition of the current administration, Centra Financial Holdings Inc. In January 2013, United announced its 29th acquisition, Virginia Commerce Bancorp in Arlington, Va.

United will celebrate its 175th anniversary in 2014. United’s roots go back to 1839 with the opening of the Parkersburg office of the Northwestern Bank of Virginia. United, as it is today, was formed in 1984.

Over the last year, United paid $50 million in federal, state and local taxes.

United contributed more than $2 million last year to organizations with community ties.

“Our employees also contribute their time and money to many local events and charitable groups by serving on local boards, participating in fundraisers, mentoring and much more,” Adams said. “Our competitive advantage has always been our people, and with their help and with the continued support of our many loyal customers and shareholders, we shall continue to build a great banking company.”