Baltimore Bancorp's quarterly profit soars

January 27, 1994|By David Conn | David Conn,Staff Writer

Baltimore Bancorp, parent of the Bank of Baltimore, capped off its second profitable year in a row with an increase of nearly 300 percent in its fourth-quarter earnings.

In the final three months of last year, Baltimore Bancorp earned $1.2 million, or 7 cents a share, compared with earnings of $312,000, or 2 cents a share, a year earlier, the company said yesterday.

Despite decreases in "core earnings" -- the profits from such traditional banking services as borrowing and lending -- Baltimore Bancorp improved its balance sheet and loan portfolio during the quarter, measures that should make it more attractive as a takeover candidate.

The company's stock closed up 12.5 cents yesterday, to $16.75, on the New York Stock Exchange.

Earlier this month, the company acknowledged that it had hired Alex. Brown Inc. to help it conduct takeover talks with several unnamed banking companies. Yesterday, it said none of those companies had yet conducted "due diligence," a detailed examination of the company's books that often indicates that an acquisition offer is near.

Although Baltimore Bancorp reinstated its quarterly dividend late last year, it has not been released from the restrictions of a regulatory agreement with state and federal regulators. That release is expected soon, the company said yesterday, and that could further spur the interest of potential acquirers.

"I don't think you'll get a bid thrown out on these guys until the [agreement] is gone, because that's an independent, objective voice that says they're OK," said Alex Hart, an analyst at Ferris, Baker Watts.

But the fourth-quarter improvement was not enough to offset weakness in the rest of 1993. For the whole year, the company's earnings fell 29 percent, to $10.3 million, or 66 cents a share, from $14.5 million, or $1.13 a share, in 1992.

Despite the 1993 drop in earnings, analysts said they were pleased with the numbers.

Merrill Ross, an analyst with Wheat First Butcher & Singer in Richmond, Va., said the company's loan portfolio and balance sheet were stronger than she expected. She added that expenses still must be cut further, "but I think an acquirer could do it faster and better."

To receive, by fax, a copy of Baltimore Bancorp's fourth-quarter earnings report, dial Sunfax at (410) 332-6123. After the greeting, enter the information number 5755.

Baltimore Bancorp

.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..Ticker .. .. .. .. .. .. .Yesterday's

.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..Symbol .. .. ..Cls... .. .. .. ..Chg.

.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ...BBB .. .. .. .16 3/4 .. .. .. .. .. ..+Period ended

12/31/93 .. .. .. .. .. .4th qtr. .. ..Year ago .. .. .. .Chg.

Net Income .. .. .. .. ...$1,150 .. .. ..$312 .. .. ...+268.6%

Primary EPS* .. .. .. .. ..$0.07 .. .. .$0.02 .. .. ...+250.0%

Annualized return

on avg. assets .. .. ... ..0.20% .. .. .0.05% .. .. .. .. ..--

Add. to allowance

for loan losses .. .. .. .$4,000 .. ...$6,000 .. .. .. .-33.3%

.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..12 mos. .. ..Year ago .. .. .. .Chg.

Net Income .. .. .. .. ..$10,270 .. ....$14,510 .. .. ..-29.2%

Primary EPS* .. .. .. .. ..$0.66 .. .. ...$1.13 .. .. ..-41.6%

Annualized return

on avg. assets .. .. .. ...0.44% .. .. ...0.51% .. .. .. ...--

Add. to allowance

for loan losses .. .. ...$22,000 .. .. .$29,881 .. .. ..-26.4%

Balances as of

.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .2/31/93 .. .. ..12/31/92

Assets .. .. .. .. .. .$2,232,191 .. .. .$2,429,329 .. ..-8.1%

Deposits .. .. .. .. ..$1,961,517 .. .. .$2,236,370 .. .-12.3%

Loans outst. .. .. .. .$1,308,446 .. .. .$1,521,450 .. .-14.0%

Loan loss

reserve .. .. .. .. .. ...$38,684 .. .. .. .$65,899 ....-41.3%

* Shares outstanding on Dec. 31, 1993, were 16.67 million compared with 12.97 million shares as of on Dec. 31, 1992.

Figures in thousands (except per share data.)

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