Following are profiles of Salomon Brothers, one of the world's biggest investment firms, and Phibro Corp., the largest publicly owned commodities trading firm, which purchased Salomon yesterday .
Over its 71-year history, Salomon Brothers has made a name for itself as one of the bluest of the blue-chip investment houses, specializing in large, often risky deals for an exclusively institutional clientele.
The largest privately held investment banker -- in the business of providing financial advice to corporations and underwriting securities for them -- Salomon Brothers is big in almost every meaning of the word.
The year Salomon Brothers reported a net worth of $254 million, with an additional $76.9 million in subordinated liabilities making for a total capitalization of more than $330 million. As an underwriter of securities offerings, it ranked last year only after Wall Street giant Merrill Lynch, helping with 86 issues with a total value of $9.7 billion. And securities trading volume in the firm's two basketball-court sized trading floors reached $870 billion for the nine months ended June 30.
Although as a private firm Salomon Brothers generally does not disclose earnings, it has a reputation for lush profitability.Yesterday's announcement said operating profits through July were at record levels.
The partnership started small in 1910 with the three Salomon brothers holding equity of only $5,000. Another early partner was Morton Hutzler, scion of the Baltimore department store chain, forging a bond so strong that the firm was known as Salomon Brothers & Hutzler until the end of the 1960s.
As an underwriter and manager of securities, Salomon Brothers has long held a reputation as a high-roller and a successful risktaker. Only once has the firm dipped into the red since 1960.
And the firm carries such weight that when chief economist Henry Kaufmann last summer forecast a drop in interest rates, stock and bond prices immediately shot up in one of their largest gains of the season.
Big acquisitions managed by Salomon Brothers include Mobil Corp.'s takeover last year of the Montgomery Ward department store chain, Marine Midland Bank's controlling stake in Crocker National last summer and 1978's successful bid by the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corp. for a 51 percent stake in Marine Midland.
In buying and selling from its huge, mainly bank-financed inventory of securities, Salomon has shunned the small investor to concentrate on the institutional market