Fannie Mae's earnings increased by nearly half a billion dollars last year, giving the District-based, congressionally chartered company its 13th year of record earnings growth.

The company said that it earned $3.91 billion ($3.72 a share) for 1999, up 14 percent from $3.42 billion ($3.23) in 1998.

For the fourth quarter of 1999, the company said net income was $1.04 billion (99 cents), up 17 percent from $888.5 million (84 cents) for the fourth quarter of 1998.

Fannie Mae's chief financial officer, Timothy Howard, attributed the quarterly and yearly gains to an increase in net interest income and guaranty fees and to a decline in "credit-related" losses.

Franklin D. Raines, who took over as chairman and chief executive on Jan. 1, 1999, said in a prepared statement yesterday that despite the prospect of higher interest rates in the coming year, the company expects to meet its stated goal of doubling its earnings per share in the five-year period that ends in 2003.

* SLM Holding Corp. reported flat earnings for 1999, with the Reston-based company, also known as Sallie Mae, reporting net income of $501 million ($3.06 a share).

For the fourth quarter of 1999, the company said it earned $142 million (87 cents), up 29 percent from $110 million (66 cents) for the fourth quarter of 1998.

The company, which Congress set up as a government-sponsored enterprise but then converted to a fully private corporation, buys government-guaranteed student loans from original lenders.

But company officials say they do not believe that the generally accepted accounting principles, known as GAAP, that were used to compute its earnings give a true picture of the company's performance. From time to time the company sells large blocks of securities whose value is based on the student loans it owns. GAAP requires the company to report a gain or loss on those sales when they occur, which often causes upswings or downswings in reported income.

Thus the company also reports earnings on what it calls a "cash basis" that shows income as it comes in, which it believes presents a truer picture of the company.

On that basis, the company reported net income of $500 million for 1999, up 11.4 percent from $449 million in 1998.

* McCormick & Co., the Sparks, Md.-based flavorings maker, said its net income for its fiscal year ended Nov. 30 was $103.3 million ($1.43) on revenue of $2 billion, compared with net income of $103.8 million ($1.41) on revenue of $1.88 billion in fiscal year 1998.

For its fourth quarter, the company reported net income of $54 million (76 cents) on revenue of $620.4 million, compared with net income of $50.1 million (68 cents) on revenue of $585.7 million.