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MERRILL LYNCH REPORTS RECORD 1991 EARNINGS OF $696.1 MILLION; 1991 EARNINGS PER SHARE OF $6.02 VS. $1.59 IN 1990

 MERRILL LYNCH REPORTS RECORD 1991 EARNINGS OF $696.1 MILLION;
 1991 EARNINGS PER SHARE OF $6.02 VS. $1.59 IN 1990
 NEW YORK, Jan. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. (NYSE: MER) today reported record 1991 net earnings of $696.1 million, 263 percent above 1990 net earnings of $191.9 million and 50 percent above its previous earnings record set in 1988. Pretax earnings exceeding $1.0 billion were also a record, up 260 percent from the $282.3 million reported in 1990.
 Earnings per common share for 1991 were $6.02 primary and $5.90 fully diluted, compared with $1.59 primary and fully diluted for 1990.
 For the 1991 fourth quarter, net earnings advanced 463 percent to $170.7 million, on quarterly net revenues of $1.9 billion. Fourth quarter earnings per common share were $1.46 primary and $1.45 fully diluted versus $.23 primary and fully diluted in the 1990 quarter.
 Full-year 1991 revenues of $12.4 billion increased 11 percent from 1990, and revenues after interest expense (net revenues) advanced 25 percent to a record $7.3 billion.
 "We are gratified that the key strategies we have implemented over the past several years came to fruition in 1991, enabling Merrill Lynch to take maximum advantage of favorable markets. Costs were effectively controlled and revenue gains were broad-based, with all operating revenue categories significantly surpassing prior year levels," said William A. Schreyer, chairman and chief executive officer, and Daniel P. Tully, president and chief operating officer, in a joint statement.
 "Merrill Lynch's leadership in serving individual investors as well as corporate, institutional and governmental clients worldwide represents a unique franchise, with tremendous future potential. We are grateful for the skill and dedication of our employees and, most of all, for the trust placed in us by our clients, which together enabled us to achieve a record year," they said.
 Revenues
 Commission revenues, up 22 percent from 1990 to $2.1 billion, reached the highest level since the record set in 1987 as a result of improved market conditions and increased levels of investor activity. Commissions from listed securities, mutual funds and annuities contributed to the revenue gain.
 Principal transaction revenues advanced 31 percent to a record $1.9 billion, reflecting substantially improved results in high-yield secondary trading and international equities trading. Money markets, swaps and other derivative products, corporate and government bonds and over-the-counter equities also contributed significantly to the strong performance.
 Investment banking revenues of $1.2 billion, a 48 percent increase over 1990, nearly matched the record set in 1988, and resulted from a strong underwriting performance in corporate equity and debt securities, including mortgage- and asset-backed instruments. For the fourth consecutive year, Merrill Lynch was the leading underwriter of total debt and equity securities domestically and globally.
 Asset management and custodial fee revenues advanced 15 percent over the prior year to $774 million, reflecting the continued success of the company's asset gathering and fee-based revenue strategy. Assets under fee-based management by Merrill Lynch Asset Management increased $13 billion from 1990 year-end to $123 billion. Total client assets in custody increased 17 percent to a record $435 billion.
 Other revenues increased 15 percent to $620 million, and net interest and dividend profit of $655 million increased 13 percent.
 Expenses
 Non-interest expenses declined 3 percent from 1990, excluding expenses closely tied to business volume -- compensation & benefits and brokerage, clearing & exchange fees. Total non-interest expenses of $6.2 billion increased 13 percent from the previous year as a direct result of increased business activity and profitability.
 Compensation and benefits expense increased 26 percent as a result of higher volume-related compensation to financial consultants, increases in incentive compensation tied directly to performance, and increases under a non-recurring, 1990-91 incentive compensation plan tied to the company's return on common equity. Even with this special plan, compensation and benefits expense as a percentage of net revenues remained virtually unchanged from the prior year.
 Estimated 1991 return on common equity is 20.8 percent -- the highest level since 1982, and up substantially from 5.8 percent in 1990. Estimated book value per share as of Dec. 27, 1991 was $35.75, compared with $29.97 as of Dec. 28, 1990.
 Regular Dividend Declared; Additional Share Repurchase Authorized.
 At its meeting today, the board of directors declared a regular quarterly dividend of $0.25 per common share, payable Feb. 26, 1992 to shareholders of record Feb. 7, 1992.
 Separately, the board increased the company's authority to purchase shares of its common stock by 5 million shares.
 This authority is in addition to the nearly 3.2 million shares remaining under previous authority. The authority may be exercised over the next several years, as market conditions warrant and subject to regulatory considerations. Purchases, if any, are primarily intended to satisfy the requirements of various stock-based employee benefit plans and may also be used for general corporate purposes.
 MERRILL LYNCH & CO., INC.
 Preliminary Unaudited Earnings Summary
 (In thousands, except per-share amounts)
 Years ended: Pct. of
 $ Change
 12/27/91 Pct. of 12/28/90 Pct. of Inc./
 (52 weeks) Revs.(A) (52 weeks) Revs.(A) (Dec.)
 Revenues:
 Commissions $2,137,516 17.3 $1,756,858 15.8 21.7
 Interest & divs. 5,761,061 46.6 5,944,706 53.3 (3.1)
 Principal
 transactions 1,893,725 15.3 1,441,431 12.9 31.4
 Invstmnt. bnkng. 1,175,992 9.5 795,444 7.1 47.8
 Asset mgmt. &
 custodial fees 774,089 6.3 673,539 6.1 14.9
 Other 640,462 5.0 538,838 4.8 15.1
 Total revenues 12,362,845 100.0 11,150,816 100.0 10.9
 Interest expense 5,106,344 41.3 5,363,900 48.1 (4.8)
 Net revenues 7,256,501 58.7 5,786,916 51.9 25.4
 Non-interest
 expenses:
 Compensation &
 benefits 3,867,849 53.3 3,077,485 53.2 25.7
 Occupancy 473,562 6.5 519,156 9.0 (8.8)
 Communications &
 equipment rental 348,969 4.8 365,529 6.3 (4.5)
 Deprec. & amort. 276,125 3.8 289,361 5.0 (4.6)
 Brokerage, clearing
 & exchange fees 249,861 3.5 237,618 4.1 5.2
 Advertising & market
 development 249,844 3.5 225,712 3.9 10.7
 Professional fees 235,344 3.2 233,565 4.0 0.8
 Other 537,529 7.4 556,162 9.6 (3.4)
 Total non-interest
 expenses 6,239,083 86.0 5,504,588 95.1 13.3
 Earnings before
 income taxes 1,017,418 14.0 282,328 4.9 260.4
 Income tax expense 321,301 4.4 90,472 1.6 255.1
 Net earnings 696,117 9.6 191,856 3.3 262.8
 Pref. stock divs. 17,725 23,924
 Net earns. applicable
 to com. stkhldrs. 678,392 167,932
 Earns. per com. share:
 Primary $6.07 $1.59
 Fully diluted 5.90 1.59
 Average shares:
 Primary 112,675 105,526
 Fully diluted 114,958 105,526
 Three months ended: Pct. of
 $ Change
 12/27/91 Pct. of 12/28/90 Pct. of Inc./
 (13 weeks) Revs.(A) (13 weeks) Revs.(A) (Dec.)
 Revenues:
 Commissions $556,130 17.8 $408,076 14.6 36.3
 Interest & divs. 1,440,000 46.1 1,562,628 55.9 (7.8)
 Principal
 transactions 396,489 12.7 344,790 12.3 15.0
 Investment banking 374,780 12.0 187,426 6.7 100.0
 Asset mgmt. &
 custodial fees 197,877 6.4 169,237 6.1 16.9
 Other 157,051 5.0 122,623 4.4 28.1
 Total revenues 3,122,327 100.0 2,794,780 100.0 11.7
 Interest expense 1,248,375 40.0 1,404,896 50.3 (11.1)
 Net revenues 1,873,952 60.0 1,389,884 49.7 34.8
 Non-interest
 expenses:
 Compensation &
 benefits 993,576 53.0 761,750 54.8 30.4
 Occupancy 119,665 6.4 154,745 11.1 (22.7)
 Communications &
 equipment rental 87,758 4.7 83,557 6.0 5.0
 Deprec. & amort. 68,850 3.7 82,651 5.9 (16.7)
 Brokerage, clearing
 & exchange fees 61,245 3.3 63,517 4.6 (3.6)
 Advertising & market
 development 79,466 4.2 44,788 3.2 77.4
 Professional fees 75,055 4.0 62,414 4.5 20.3
 Other 138,873 7.4 118,929 8.6 16.8
 Total non-interest
 expenses 1,624,488 86.7 1,372,351 98.7 18.4
 Earnings before
 income taxes 249,464 13.3 17,533 1.3 1,322.8
 Income tax expense/
 (benefit) 78,781 4.2 (12,798) (0.9) N/M
 Net earnings 170,683 9.1 30,331 2.2 462.7
 Pref. stock divs. 3,556 6,629
 Net earns. applicable
 to com. stkhldrs. 167,127 23,702
 Earns. per com. share:
 Primary $1.46 $0.23
 Fully diluted 1.45 0.23
 Average shares:
 Primary 114,850 103,047
 Fully diluted 115,410 103,047
 (A) -- Revenues and interest expense are presented as a percentage of total revenues. Non-interest expenses and earnings are presented as a percentage of net revenues.
 NOTE: Compensation and benefits expense includes $169,036 and $13,390 for 1991 and 1990, respectively, related to a non-recurring 1990-1991 incentive compensation plan based on the corporation's return on common equity.
 -0- 1/27/92
 /CONTACT: James Wiggins, 212-449-7280, or William Clark, 212-449-7284, of Merrill Lynch & Co./
 (MER) CO: Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. ST: New York IN: FIN SU: ERN


SH-KW -- NY066 -- 3813 01/27/92 13:47 EST
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