Investment banking spurs Lehman's profit

/ Source: The Associated Press

The brokerage house Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. blew past Wall Street's forecasts for its first quarter profit Tuesday, posting a 32 percent rise in earnings thanks to record revenues in investment banking.

Lehman earned $875 million, or $2.91 per share, in the three months ended Feb. 28 compared to $670 million, or $2.21 per share, in the first quarter of 2004. Revenues rose 21 percent to $3.81 billion from $3.14 billion a year ago.

Revenues, net income and earnings per share all set quarterly records for Lehman.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call had expected earnings of $2.20 per share on revenues of $3.14 billion.

"This was truly a great quarter," said Richard Fuld Jr., chairman and chief executive officer. "These record results reflect an outstanding performance from all of our businesses and regions and the earnings power of the firm."

Revenues from the firm's investment banking business rose 34 percent from last year, and the company noted that it served in an adviser in four of the top 10 mergers and acquisition deals in the quarter. The company's own capital markets division saw a 21 percent jump in revenues, while its investment management division posted a 5 percent increase in sales.

Non-interest expenses for the quarter rose to $2.5 billion from $2.1 billion a year ago.