New Century Financial Corp., a nonprime mortgage company based in Irvine, Calif., has reported net earnings of $375.6 million ($8.29 per share) for 2004, compared with $245.5 million ($6.32 per share) in 2003.Mortgage loan originations totaled $42.20 billion, up 54.1% from $27.38 billion in 2003. For the fourth quarter, the company reported earnings of $78.7 million ($1.44 per share), compared with $74.1 million ($1.80 per share) in the fourth quarter of 2003. Mortgage originations totaled $11.50 billion for the quarter, up 39.4% from $8.25 billion a year earlier. Robert K. Cole, New Century's chairman and chief executive, cited several developments in 2004, including its conversion into a real estate investment trust and its acquisition of the rights to the name Home123 and related brand assets. "As a result, we are confident we can deliver our EPS target of $9.00 per share or more, at least 50% of which will be from our mortgage loan portfolio, and deliver a dividend of $6.20 per share or more for 2005," he said. New Century can be found online at http://www.ncen.com.

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