Signet reports $22 million profit in first quarter Writing off real estate loans boosts earnings

April 21, 1992|By David Conn | David Conn,Staff Writer

A cleansing fourth-quarter real estate write-down by Richmond-based Signet Banking Corp. gave way to a first-quarter profit of $22 million, the company said yesterday.

Signet, which owns Signet Bank/Maryland, said its "accelerated real estate asset reduction program" at the end of last year, which translated to a $165 million provision for loan losses, rid the company of enough bad real estate loans to allow for a profitable first quarter this year.

The asset reduction program "has enabled Signet to return to more normal earnings by significantly reducing the effects of the real estate problems which have plagued us for the past two years," Signet Chairman and Chief Executive Robert M. Freeman said in a statement.

The $22.1 million profit, equal to 81 cents a share, compared with a first-quarter profit of $6.4 million, or 24 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. The company lost $51.7 million, or $1.91 a share, at the end of 1991, for an annual loss of $25.7 million, or 25 cents a share.

The earnings announcement came after the stock market closed yesterday. Signet's stock gained 50 cents to close at $33.50 a share on the New York Stock Exchange.

Non-performing assets fell to $306.3 million as of March 31 from $332.4 million at the end of last year, and from $328.1 million on March 31, 1991. The company set aside $25 million to cover possible loan losses in the latest quarter compared with $47.5 million a year ago.

The company ended the recent quarter slightly trimmed down from its $11.6 billion in assets a year ago.

The loan portfolio fell almost 8 percent, to $5.7 billion, and deposits were up only 1.2 percent, to $8.3 billion, at the end of March.

* Three months ended 3/31/92

.. .. .. .. Income.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. Share

'92.. .. .. 22,057,000.. .. .. .. .. .. 0.81

'91.. .. .. 6,390,000.. .. .. .. .. .. 0.24

% change.. .. .+245.2.. .. .. .. .. .. .. +237.5

.. .. .. .. .Assets.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .Deposits

'92.. .. .. 11,267,287,000.. .. .. .. .. 8,310,312,000

'91.. .. .. 11,609,582,000.. .. .. .. .. 8,208,059,000

% change.. .. -2.9 +1.2 Loan portfolio

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