MuniMae's operating net up 45%

2001 also saw a rise of 24% in its cash available for distribution

February 23, 2002|By Gus G. Sentementes | Gus G. Sentementes,SUN STAFF

Municipal Mortgage & Equity LLC, a bond management and real estate investment company, reported yesterday that operating net income rose 45 percent in 2001.

Known as MuniMae, the company had net operating income of $42.1 million, or $1.97 per share, in the year ended Dec. 31, compared with $29.1 million, or $1.67 per share, reported for the previous year.

Tax-free income

The Baltimore-based company, whose shares trade on the New York Stock Exchange, finances the building of apartments, senior housing and other kinds of rental developments and provides investors with income that's largely tax-free.

Its assets under management last year totaled $3 billion secured by 784 properties across the country.

MuniMae, which operates as MuniMae Midland, distributes most of its income - between 85 and 90 percent - to its shareholders.

CAD reaches $54 million

The company's cash available for distribution (CAD), a key measure of the company's distribution-paying ability, increased 24 percent to $54 million.

In the fourth quarter, MuniMae's cash distribution per common share rose a penny to 43 cents.

"We'd like to do better," said Mark K. Joseph, MuniMae's chairman and chief executive. "But in light of so many [businesses] facing all kinds of trouble, we feel very fortunate to have the kind of year we had."

"There's been much less turmoil in the apartment market than there has been in the office markets," Joseph said, pointing to dot-com failures that left vacant commercial spaces across the country.

MuniMae invested $1.1 billion last year - a 50 percent increase over $732 million in investments in 2000.

The bulk of that investment, Joseph said, went to apartments in the middle of their market's price range.

"A fair amount of their income is stable because they own bonds," said Rod Petrik, a real estate securities analyst with Legg Mason Inc. of Baltimore.

"Most of their growth in earnings is generated by new investments, new owner originations, and originating fees," Petrik said.

Shares of MuniMae rose 58 cents to $23.68 on the NYSE yesterday.

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