Increases in interest income and lower loan losses helped boost Lafayette-based MidSouth Bancorp Inc.’s first-quarter earnings to $2.5 million, or 24 cents per share, well above the $442,000, or 5 cents per share, reported a year ago.

MidSouth’s net interest income increased by $3.9 million, with $1.3 million of that coming from branches acquired in the second half of 2011. The company also reduced the amount set aside for loan losses by $925,000. Those increases were partially offset by a $1.9 million increase in noninterest expense and a $1.2 million increase in income tax expense.

In a news release, MidSouth President and Chief Executive Officer C.R. “Rusty” Cloutier said the earnings reflected a full quarter of the results from the First Louisiana National Bank and Beacon Federal Tyler branch acquisitions.

“The positive results reflect successful leveraging of capital and support infrastructure, as well as the realization of expected cost savings from the deals. We are actively seeking other opportunities to further leverage capital and continue to increase shareholder value,” Cloutier said.