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MERRY LAND REPORTS EARNINGS, RAISES DIVIDEND

 AUGUSTA, Ga., April 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Merry Land & Investment Company, Inc. (MERRY LAND) (NYSE: MRY) Peter S. Knox III, chairman of the board, reported at the company's Annual Meeting of Shareholders held today that net income for the first quarter was $8,646,000 equivalent to $.59 per share.
 In the same period last year net income was $4,946,000, or $.52 per share, so the current year is up by 75 percent in absolute terms and by 13 percent on a per share basis.
 Net income included capital gains of $5,763,000 for the first quarter of 1993. Last year capital gains in the first quarter were $1,318,000.
 Funds from operations for the quarter were $4,465,000, or $.31 per share. For the first quarter last year funds were $1,832,000, or $.19 per share, excluding funds from discontinued mortgage backed securities.
 The company's board of directors announced an increase in the company's regular dividend to an $.88 annual rate, effective with the second quarter of 1993, an increase of 10 percent from the previous rate. A dividend of $.22 per share will be paid on June 30 to shareholders of record on June 16.
 Knox stated that the dividend action reflects excellent financial results in 1992 continuing into 1993, as well as the company's very strong capital position and good prospects. He also said it brings the company's dividend payout ratio to about 75 percent of funds from operations -- still conservative by industry standards but more in line with other quality equity REITs.
 Knox said that the purchase of Augustine Club Apartments, a 222-unit apartment community built in 1988, was closed in February for $7.5 million. The acquisition -- one of the leading communities in Tallahassee, Fla., and Merry Land's first entry into that strong market -- brings the company's total investment in apartments to $217.9 million and 6,751 total units.
 Knox said the company continues to examine a number of promising new apartment opportunities and expects to close several significant acquisitions in the second quarter. Available yields are down somewhat from the levels in effect last year, but still attractive in view of the corresponding drop in market interest rates. He expects continued rapid growth in the company's portfolio.
 Merry Land is a Real Estate Investment Trust which invests in southeastern apartment communities. The company is headquartered in Augusta. Its stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol MRY.
 MERRY LAND & INVESTMENT CO., INC.
 3 mos. ended 3/31/93 3/31/92
 Revenues $15,785,125 $10,564,036
 Net income 8,646,468 4,946,389
 Per share $ .59 $ .52
 Funds from operations (excluding discontinued
 mortgage backed securities) $ 4,464,515 $ 1,832,254
 Per share $ .31 $ .19
 Avg. common shares outstanding 14,555,214 9,247,609
 -0- 4/19/93
 /CONTACT: Tennent Houston, president of Merry Land, 706-722-6756/
 (MERY)


CO: Merry Land & Investment Company, Inc. ST: Georgia IN: SU: ERN DIV

BR-RA -- AT010 -- 7296 04/19/93 10:43 EDT
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Date:Apr 19, 1993
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