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Countrywide Has 53% Jump in Profit, Boosts Dividend

October 25, 2002|E. Scott Reckard | Times Staff Writer

Countrywide Credit Industries Inc., benefiting from booming home sales and refinancings, Thursday reported a 53% increase in third-quarter earnings and boosted its profit projections and dividend.

Calabasas-based Countrywide, the nation's largest independent mortgage firm, said net income rose to $228 million, or $1.74 a share, from $149 million, or $1.20 a share, a year ago. Revenue rose 60% to $1.21 billion from $755 million. Countrywide began reporting results on a calendar-year basis this year, so last year's comparable quarter ended Aug. 31, 2001, while this year's third quarter ended Sept. 30.

Pretax mortgage banking earnings rose 39% to $256 million. Countrywide Chairman Angelo Mozilo said a near-doubling in pretax earnings from other businesses, to $108 million, was the payoff for diversification into areas such as securities trading, banking and insurance.

Countrywide raised its quarterly dividend for the second time this year, to 12 cents a share from 11 cents, and projected fourth-quarter earnings of $1.75 to $1.90 a share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call had expected $1.62 a share.

Countrywide's shares fell 9 cents to $50.29 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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