$74 million raised by MuniMae

3 million shares sold to investors for $24.70 each

7th public offering

Money will be used to make investments in rental housing

February 09, 2002|By Kristine Henry | Kristine Henry,SUN STAFF

Baltimore-based Municipal Mortgage & Equity LLC said yesterday that it raised $74 million from a public stock offering of 3 million shares. It will use the money to make further investments in rental-housing projects.

The firm, commonly known as MuniMae, provides financing - both through loans and through equity investments - for apartments, assisted living and other types of rental developments throughout the country.

MuniMae made nearly $1 billion in investments last year, and the money from the offering, in which shares sold for $24.70 each, will go toward making the amount even larger this year, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Mark K. Joseph said yesterday.

The public offering is the seventh since the firm was listed on the New York Stock Exchange in August 1996.

At that time, shares were listed at $15.50 each. Shares rose 34 cents to $24.59 yesterday.

"We're excited. Any time investors will entrust you with $74 million, that's an important thing," Joseph said. "We believe it shows a trust in our company."

Five years ago MuniMae had about $230 million in assets under management. Today the figure is more than $2.8 billion, secured by 784 properties in 48 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The underwriters of the offering, which will close Feb. 13, have the option of buying up to a combined 450,000 additional shares. If all of those shares are purchased, the offering will have raised a total of $85.2 million.

"I think if you look over their recent history, this is part of their normalized business plan - to continually raise capital," said Rod Petrick, a real estate securities analyst with Legg Mason Inc. in Baltimore - one of the firms managing the recent offering.

"They are performing very well," Petrick said.

MuniMae reported operating income allocated to common shares of $29.8 million in the first nine months of the year, compared with $20.7 million in the corresponding period a year earlier. Fourth-quarter and year-end results are scheduled to be released Feb. 22.

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