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THE EQUITABLE REPORTS IMPROVED OPERATING PERFORMANCE FOR FULL YEAR AND FOURTH QUARTER 1992

 NEW YORK, Feb. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- The Equitable Companies Incorporated (NYSE: EQ) today reported a substantially improved operating performance for the full year and fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, 1992. For the year, after-tax earnings from continuing operations (excluding non-DLJ investment gains and losses, and restructuring charges) totaled $47.7 million compared with $25.3 million reported for the full-year 1991. After-tax earnings from continuing operations (excluding non-DLJ investment gains and losses, and restructuring charges) for the 1992 fourth quarter were $10.8 million, versus a loss of $15.2 million for the similar period a year ago.
 "Strong earnings from our investment services segment, combined with a much improved performance from our core insurance businesses, led to the significant progress made in continuing operations for 1992," said Richard H. Jenrette, chairman and chief executive officer. "The past year was an historic, watershed period for the company, with the success of our demutualization and Initial Public Offering. While we are pleased with Equitable's progress in 1992, we must aggressively continue to take the necessary steps that will allow the company to realize its potential and achieve our goal of a 15 percent return on equity by 1995."
 Including non-DLJ after-tax investment losses of $63.5 million, and restructuring charges of $16.4 million, The Equitable reported an after-tax loss from continuing operations of $32.2 million for the full year 1992, a sharp improvement over the $307.8 million after-tax loss from continuing operations reported for the prior year. After an extraordinary charge of $101.3 million for demutualization expenses and a $4.9 million net positive impact from the cumulative effect of accounting changes, the Company recorded a net loss of $128.6 million for 1992. This compares to a net loss of $898.0 million for 1991, which included non-DLJ after-tax investment losses of $293.0 million, $40.1 million in restructuring charges, a $561.9 million net loss from discontinued Guaranteed Interest Contract (GIC) operations and an extraordinary charge of $28.3 million for demutualization expenses.
 For the fourth quarter, (after including non-DLJ investment losses, and restructuring charges) the company had an after-tax loss from continuing operations of $28.9 million, compared with an after-tax loss from continuing operations of $161.3 million for the similar period of 1991. Also included in the 1991 period were non-DLJ investment losses of $106.0 million, a net loss of $68.4 million from discontinued GIC operations and an extraordinary charge of $17.2 million for demutualization expenses resulting in a net loss of $246.9 million.
 Accounting Changes
 After-tax earnings from continuing operations for 1992 were reduced by $5.6 million as a result of a new accounting rule FASB 106, which requires companies to accrue for post-retirement employee benefits other than pensions. In order not to penalize future earnings, management chose the more conservative approach (i.e., to accrue the entire after- tax transition liability of $247.4 million at January 1, 1992 instead of amortizing it over time) in implementing this rule. The adoption of FASB 109, which reduced the Company's deferred income tax liability at January 1, 1992 by $252.3 million, offset the impact of FASB 106 on the year's results and both are reflected in the $4.9 million Cumulative Effect of Accounting Changes.
 Also during the fourth quarter, new accounting treatments for foreclosed real estate prescribed under SOP 92-3, resulted in Equitable adding $34.5 million to pre-tax valuation allowances for in-substance foreclosures.
 Insurance Operations
 After-tax operating losses from insurance operations, excluding a loss on investment transactions of $22.7 million and restructuring charges of $15.8 million, totaled $0.8 million for the fourth quarter of 1992. Included in this total was an after-tax loss of $26.6 from Disability Income operations.
 For the full year, after-tax losses (excluding a loss on investment transactions of $83.9 million and restructuring charges of $16.4 million) totaled $ 7.5 million, versus $44.8 million for 1991. The full-year 1992 after-tax loss from Disability Income operations was $55.1 million.
 "Since our Initial Public Offering, we have initiated a wide range of activities to focus our efforts and improve profitability," said Joseph J. Melone, president. "We are beginning to see the results of significant reductions in crediting rates as well as from our efforts to curb expenses. These actions, coupled with projects that are re-engineering our back office and overhauling our products, will produce substantial benefits going forward."
 For the year, new individual life and annuity premiums and deposits were up 26.7 percent over 1991 while surrenders declined 8.5 percent. Importantly, 92.7 percent of new premiums and deposits were in our targeted lines -- variable and interest-sensitive life and individual annuity products. Approximately 86 percent of new variable life premiums and deposits and 34.3 percent of new variable annuity premiums and deposits went into Separate Accounts."
 Investment Services
 The combined after-tax earnings from continuing operations of The Equitable's investment businesses climbed to $192.5 million for 1992, an increase of 72.5 percent above the $111.6 million reported for the previous year. For the quarter, investment segment after-tax earnings rose 43.3 percent to $47.3 million, compared with $33.0 million for the fourth quarter of 1991.
 "Record profits at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, which grew 175.2 percent for the year behind significantly higher underwriting fees, increased commissions and trading revenue and strong merchant banking gains, was the principal contributor to the sharp rise in investment services profitability," said Mr. Jenrette. "Equitable Real Estate, which achieved an increase of $6.1 million or 22.3 percent in profits, and Alliance Capital, whose contribution grew by 11.1 percent or $2.6 million, also played a part in the significant year-to-year gain."
 Mr. Jenrette also noted that total assets under management by The Equitable and its investment businesses surpassed the $150 billion milestone, rising to $151.1 billion at year-end 1992, versus $144.7 billion at year-end 1991.
 Insurance Investment Portfolio
 During 1992, The Equitable made significant progress in improving the overall quality of its General Account investment portfolio. For the year, below-investment grade fixed maturities declined by $944.1 million, making up only 6.0 percent of the entire portfolio compared with 8.5 percent at the end of 1991. During the same period, $2.6 billion of investment-grade fixed maturities were added, bringing their share up to 39.4 percent of the entire portfolio, versus 29.2 percent at the end of the previous year. Also in 1992, the company's commercial mortgage holdings were reduced by $907.9 million and equity interests were lowered by $127.9 million.
 The significant decline in interest rates experienced during 1992, combined with a $2.1 billion reduction in the size of the General Account and the increase in higher quality/lower yielding assets, caused investment income to fall to $2.3 billion from $2.5 billion for 1991. The income yield before depreciation and interest expense on the General Account wholly owned real estate portfolio, however, showed significant improvement, totaling 5.3 percent for the year compared with 4.6 percent for 1991. The level of problem commercial mortgages for 1992 amounted to $388.4 million of the commercial portfolio, versus $298.8 million at the end of the previous year.
 The Equitable Companies Incorporated is one of the world's premier investment managers through products and services distributed by its primary businesses: The Equitable Life Assurance Society; Alliance Capital Management, L.P.; Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette; and Equitable Real Estate Investment Management, Inc.
 THE EQUITABLE COMPANIES INCORPORATED
 Condensed Consolidated Statements of Earnings
 (Unaudited, in millions, except per share amounts)
 Periods ended Three months Full Year
 Dec. 31 1992 1991 1992 1991
 Total revenues $ 1,373.3 $ 1,423.5 $ 6,282.0 $ 6,116.8
 Total benefits and
 other deductions 1,396.2 1,696.9 6,298.1 6,623.1
 Earnings (loss) from
 continuing operations
 before Federal income
 taxes (22.9) (273.4) (16.1) (506.3)
 Federal income tax
 expense (benefit) 6.0 (112.1) 16.1 (198.5)
 Earnings (Loss) from
 continuing operations (28.9) (161.3) (32.2) (307.8)
 Discontinued operations,
 net -- (68.4) -- (561.9)
 Extraordinary charge,
 net -- (17.2) (101.3) (28.3)
 Cumulative effect of
 accounting changes, net -- -- 4.9 --
 Net earnings (loss) $ (28.9) $ (246.9) $ (128.6) $ (898.0)
 Net earnings (loss)
 after demutualization $ (28.9) -- $ 3.8 --
 Dividends on preferred
 stocks (8.4) -- (14.5) --
 Net earnings (loss)
 after demutualization,
 applicable to common
 shares $ (37.3) -- $ (10.7) --
 Net earnings (loss)
 after demutualization
 per common share: (A) $ (.26) -- $ (.08) --
 Weighted average number of
 common shares outstanding
 (in millions) 142.4 -- 142.4 --
 Cash dividends per
 common share $ .05 -- $ .10 --
 (A) -- Earnings per share amounts are based on earnings from continuing operations of the Company for that period of the year subsequent to the completion of demutualization (July 22 through Dec. 31, 1992). Since The Equitable was a mutual company during 1991, there are no comparable earnings per share amounts for the prior year.
 Results for the nine months ended Sept. 30, 1992 previously reported have been restated to reflect the adoption of accounting changes relating to post-retirement employee benefits other than pensions and deferred income taxes.
 -0- 2/25/93
 /CONTACT: Terrance Little, 212-554-8929, or (investors) Greg Wilcox, 212-554-2595, both of The Equitable Companies Incorporated/
 (EQ)


CO: The Equitable Companies Incorporated ST: New York IN: INS SU: ERN

TS -- NY010 -- 0236 02/25/93 08:41 EST
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