New Century Financial's Earnings Edge Up in '04

New Century Financial Corp. here reported fourth-quarter 2004 net earnings of $78.7 million, or $1.44 per share, compared with $74.1 million, or $1.80 per share, for the same period in 2003.

For the full year, the company had earnings of $375.6 million, or $8.29 per share, vs. $245.5 million, or $6.32 per share, posted for 2003.

New Century's fourth-quarter earnings were affected by $0.26 in inducement expenses for its $210 million tender offer for senior notes of New Century TRS Holdings Inc.

During the past fiscal year, New Century was restructured into a real estate investment trust.

The conversion to REIT status, said CEO Robert Cole, has positioned the company to compete in a changing environment. The company plans to focus on the cost side of the business in order to help restore its margins.

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