Universal Corp., the Richmond-based conglomerate of international tobacco, lumber and agribusiness companies, reported higher net income in its first quarter, largely the result of the timing of tobacco shipments and a one-time gain from the sale of a tobacco joint venture.

Universal earned $29.5 million (93 cents a share) in the quarter ended Sept. 30, up 9 percent from $27.1 million (78 cents) in the first quarter of 1998. Revenue for the quarter was $783 million, compared with $879 million in the year-earlier period. The company attributed the drop in revenue to a smaller flue-cured crop of tobacco in the United States and lower tobacco prices in Brazil.

The company said that without the one-time gain from the sale of a tobacco joint venture, operating income for its flagship tobacco business was down.

The company handily beat analysts' expectations of 76 cents a share, as reported by First Call/Thomson Financial. The stock closed yesterday at $21.43 1/2, up 12 1/2 cents.

Washington Real Estate Investment Trust, a Rockville company that owns apartments, shopping centers, offices and warehouses in the Washington-Baltimore region, said higher rents and slightly lower expenses led to better operating results in the third quarter.

Funds from operations, the most widely followed gauge of real estate companies' results, rose 12 percent to $13.63 million (38 cents a share), from $12.17 million (34 cents) in the same period last year. Funds from operations is a financial measure that adds back charges for property amortization and depreciation that otherwise reduce net income.

Revenue in the quarter was $29.57 million, up 13 percent from $26.24 million. Net income was $8.83 million (25 cents), up 7 percent from $8.28 million (23 cents).

For the first nine months of the year, funds from operations rose 10 percent, to $39.94 million ($1.12), from $36.49 million ($1.02) in the same period a year earlier. Revenue was $86.08 million, up 13 percent from $76.16 million. Net income was $33.05 million (95 cents), up 6 percent from $31.15 million (87 cents).

PSINet Inc., a Herndon-based Internet service provider, said its loss in the third quarter was $81.3 million, compared with a loss of $47.3 million in the same period of 1998.

The company touted robust revenue growth compared with a year earlier. It took in $140.6 million for the quarter, better than double the $67.6 million it claimed during last year's third quarter.

But the third-quarter revenue represented only a 14 percent increase over the previous quarter ended June 30, when PSINet took in $123.8 million.

AppNet Inc. of Bethesda said it lost $21.3 million for the three months ended Sept. 30, compared with a loss of $20.7 million for the same period a year ago. The company said revenue rose markedly in the period, from $18 million in last year's third quarter to $30 million this year.

For the first nine months of this year, AppNet lost $50.5 million, compared with a loss of $61.4 million for same period in 1998. Revenue jumped to $77.4 million from $47.3 million.

AppNet sells systems that help companies establish a presence in Internet commerce.

Guilford Pharmaceuticals Inc. of Baltimore said its third-quarter loss was $5.2 million, compared with a loss of $6.9 million in the same period in 1998.

Revenue rose 81 percent in the quarter to $6.9 million.

For the first nine months, Guilford lost $22.3 million, compared with $21.0 million in 1998.

Company officials cited progress in product development and in long-term financing as positive factors in the quarter. Guilford, which develop treatments for brain cancer and other forms of neurological diseases, has about $144.7 million in cash on hand, the company said.