AP News

Piper Jaffray returns to a 4th-quarter profit


MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Investment banking revenue helped push Piper Jaffray to a profit in the fourth quarter.

The Minneapolis-based firm reported Wednesday that its net income hit $10.2 million in the quarter ending Dec. 31. That's after posting a loss of $116.4 million in the same quarter the year before when it took a $120 million charge for goodwill, a move companies make when an asset they bought drops in value.

On a per-share basis, fourth-quarter earnings were 67 cents, compared with a loss of $7.38 in the same quarter of 2011.

Revenue surged 50 percent to $150 million, thanks mostly to the jump in investment banking. Piper Jaffray worked on 22 mergers and acquisitions worth a total of $6.8 billion in the fourth quarter. That's up from 11 transactions worth $1.3 billion the year before.

Analysts expected earnings per share of 69 cents and revenue of $131.4 million, according to FactSet.

Excluding interest payments, expenses fell 44 percent to $118 million.

Shares in Piper Jaffray Cos. were up $1 to $39.75 in afternoon trading Wednesday, an increase of 2.6 percent. Earlier the stock traded at $40.59, its highest level since March 2011.

In a statement, the company's CEO, Andrew Duff, said the quarterly results were driven by its investment-banking work advising companies on mergers and acquisitions and local governments on managing their finances. Stronger performance in those areas managed to offset weak results from its fixed-income trading, Duff said.


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