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MERRY LAND REPORTS RECORD EARNINGS, RAISES DIVIDEND

 MERRY LAND REPORTS RECORD EARNINGS, RAISES DIVIDEND
 AUGUSTA, Ga., Jan. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Merry Land & Investment


Company, Inc. (NASDAQ: MERY) (Merry Land) reported record results for the year 1991.
 Earnings per share were $.94 -- up from $.62 per share last year and slightly better than the company's previous high of $.93 per share in 1989, when more shares were outstanding. Net income for the year was $8.8 million -- up 49 percent from 1990 and only slightly behind the record high of $9.1 million earned in 1989.
 Peter S. Knox III, chairman of the board, reported that the character of Merry Land's earnings has changed dramatically over the last few years as shown below (000s omitted):
 Ordinary Capital Net Operating
 Year Income Gains Income Cash Flow
 1989 $1,505 $7,597 $9,102 $3,004
 1990 4,197 1,708 5,905 6,442
 1991 7,005 1,786 8,791 10,081
 Operating cash flow is an important measure often used to evaluate real estate investment trusts. The term is defined as net income less capital gains and plus depreciation. The company's ordinary income and operating cash flows were also at record levels in 1991.
 Based on these results, Merry Land's board has increased the regular dividend rate for 1992 to $.15 per quarter -- up from the $.11 quarterly rate for 1991. The first quarter's dividend will be paid March 31 to shareholders of record on March 13.
 Knox said that much of the improvement stemmed from the continued fall of interest rates to very low levels, and Merry Land's use of variable rate and short-term debt -- which have dramatically cut borrowing costs. At yearend, the weighted average cost of all the company's debt was well under 6 percent.
 Knox also reported that in the fourth quarter of 1991, Merry Land bought the 360-unit Misty Woods apartment community in Raleigh, N.C., from the Resolution Trust Company for $8.6 million. Merry Land now owns 3,708 apartment units with a total cost of $121.3 million, located in six cities in Georgia and the Carolinas. The company expects to buy more apartment properties in 1992. Knox said that a new $50 million mortgage loan arranged with a commercial bank this December gives Merry Land added borrowing power at a time when many excellent real estate investments are available.
 Rental income rose 20 percent in 1991 as a result of new apartment acquisitions. Overall revenues declined as a result of reductions in the company's portfolio of mortgage-backed securities and the interest income it produced.
 3 mos. ended 12/31/91 12/31/90
 Revenues $7,386,000 $8,854,000
 Net income 1,998,000 1,628,000
 Operating cash flow 3,569,226 2,039,690
 Earnings per share .21 .17
 Operating cash flow per share .38 .22
 Average common shares outst. 9,415,035 9,278,000
 12 mos. ended 12/31/91 12/31/90
 Revenues $33,072,000 $37,379,000
 Net income 8,791,000 5,905,000
 Operating cash flow 10,081,000 6,442,000
 Earnings per share .94 .62
 Operating cash flow per share 1.08 .68
 Average common shares outst. 9,325,614 9,480,000
 All per-share amounts include adjustments made for stock dividends and splits paid to date.
 -0- 1/20/92
 /CONTACT: Tennent Houston, president of Merry Land, 404-722-6756/
 (MERY) CO: Merry Land & Investment Company, Inc. ST: Georgia IN: SU: ERN DIV


BN-BR -- AT005 -- 1427 01/20/92 12:50 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 20, 1992
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