Mercantile profit rises 21% in 2Q

July 27, 2005|By Laura Smitherman | Laura Smitherman,SUN STAFF

Mercantile Bankshares Corp. reported yesterday a 21 percent increase in second-quarter profit as the Baltimore-based bank incorporated Community Bank of Northern Virginia onto its balance sheet.

Maryland's largest independent bank earned $67.9 million in the quarter, or 84 cents a share, topping Wall Street expectations of 80 cents a share, according to an average of analyst estimates compiled by Thomson Financial.

Mercantile had $56.3 million in net income, or 71 cents a share, in the year-earlier period.

Its stock rose $1.48, or 3 percent, to close at $55.34 on the Nasdaq stock market yesterday.

"They did just as expected," said Matt Schultheis, an analyst with Ferris Baker Watts Inc. who doesn't own shares in Mercantile. "They slightly exceeded expectations, but it was nothing really to jump up and down about. They didn't blow past the numbers."

The bank's loan portfolio increased 16 percent over the last year to $11.4 billion at the end of June. Assets increased by 14 percent to $16.1 billion, and deposits were up 11 percent from the prior year to $11.8 billion.

Mercantile made a greater push into Virginia with the acquisition of Community Bank of Northern Virginia.

Edward J. "Ned" Kelly III, chairman, president and chief executive, said in an interview that the company would consider another acquisition, though nothing is in the works.

"We have to be opportunistic," he said. "But we're continuing to focus on building our footprint, particularly in Virginia."

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