Confident Mercantile to boost quarterly dividend

December 09, 1992|By David Conn | David Conn,Staff Writer

Mercantile Bankshares Corp., coming off a strong first nine months this year, will increase its quarterly dividend by 1 cent, to 22.5 cents a share, the company's board announced yesterday.

The quarterly payment on its common stock is payable on Dec. 31 to stockholders of record on Dec. 18. The company last raised its dividend, from 20 cents a share, in the fourth quarter of 1990.

The Baltimore-based company, parent of Mercantile-Safe Deposit & Trust Co., also announced it added a board member to both companies: Dr. James A. Block, president and chief executive of both Johns Hopkins Hospital and the Johns Hopkins Health System since July 1.

Mercantile, with almost 30.5 million common shares outstanding, will boost its annual dividend payment to $6.85 million, a $305,000 increase from the current rate. At yesterday's closing stock price of $33, up 25 cents a share, the 90-cent annual dividend rate amounts to a 2.7 percent yield, about average for regional banking companies.

"The board has confidence in the institution and its strength, and its earnings are up," said Mercantile Bankshares President Edward K. Dunn Jr.

In the third quarter, which ended Sept. 30, Mercantile earned $19.1 million, or 63 cents a share, up 1.6 percent from the second quarter and 13.5 percent from the third quarter of 1991.

For the first nine months of the year, the company earned $56.7 million, or $1.87 a share, a 6.3 percent increase over the same period a year earlier.

Mercantile is the latest Maryland financial company to raise its dividend recently. Alex. Brown Inc. raised its dividend 25 percent after the second quarter, while Legg Mason Inc. increased its dividend 10 percent after the third quarter. Mason-Dixon Bancshares Inc., parent of the Carroll County Bank & Trust Co., made the second of two dividend raises this year in September.

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