FINANCIAL SERVICES

Capital One Profit Is Flat as Defaults Surge

Capital One Financial, the No. 5 U.S. credit-card issuer, said third-quarter profit remained basically unchanged, rising 0.2 percent, to $491.1 million from $490.2 million in the comparable quarter a year earlier, as defaults surged ahead of more stringent personal bankruptcy rules that took effect Monday. The McLean company said revenue rose 8.2 percent, to $2.5 billion. The company attributed $44 million in lost profit to damage from hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Hibernia, the New Orleans-based bank damaged by Katrina that Capital One has agreed to buy, is expected to report its third-quarter earnings today.

SLM Corp., the Reston student-loan company better known as Sallie Mae, had a profit of $431 million (95 cents a share) in the third quarter, up from $357 million (76 cents) in the comparable period a year earlier. It reported a return on assets of 2 percent, down from 2.1 percent a year earlier. The company said it had record levels of consolidation loans in the quarter, as students and parents locked in long-term fixed rates.

Orbital Sciences, a space-systems manufacturer in Dulles, said its third-quarter profit dipped to $6.8 million (11 cents a share) from $6.9 million (11 cents) in the comparable period a year ago. Orbital said revenue dropped to $159.3 million from $171.7 million because of a decrease in its science, technology and defense satellites product line. The company also said it expects 2006 revenue of about $750 million to $770 million.

MedImmune, a Gaithersburg biotechnology company, lost $64.1 million (26 cents a share) on revenue of $154 million in the third quarter. The firm lost $65 million (26 cents) on $93 million in revenue in the comparable period last year. The 66 percent jump in revenue was driven by strong sales of Synagis, the firm's lead product, which prevents respiratory infections in babies. Separately, MedImmune said it was collaborating with Avidia, a California biotech company, to develop new treatments for cancer. Shares of MedImmune closed at $33.75, up 40 cents.

Provident Bankshares, which operates Provident Bank branches in the Baltimore, Washington and Richmond areas, said its third-quarter profit rose 11 percent, to $20 million (60 cents a share).

Danaher, a District-based toolmaker, had a third-quarter profit of $228.8 million (70 cents a share) on $1.97 billion in sales, compared with a profit of $200.8 million (62 cents) on $1.74 billion in sales in the comparable quarter last year. But much of the 13 percent improvement in sales stemmed from acquisitions rather than internal growth. Shares fell $3.01, or 5.7 percent, to close at $49.43.

Laureate Education of Baltimore, which operates for-profit universities abroad, had a third-quarter profit of $11.8 million (23 cents a share) on $199.2 million in revenue, up from a profit of $9.3 million (19 cents) on $146.1 million in revenue in the year-ago quarter. Laureate's campus-based and online education divisions reported enrollment increases of 26 percent and 28 percent, respectively. Shares rose 16 cents to close at $47.97.

Compiled from staff and news service reports.