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Walter Investment posts fivefold rise in earnings

The Associated Press

Walter Investment Management reported a fivefold increase in first-quarter earnings on Thursday, beating analysts' estimates and driving its shares up 5 percent.

The Tampa, Fla.-based loan-servicing company posted net income of $27.7 million, or 73 cents per share, in the first three months of the year. That's more than five times higher than the $5.2 million, or 17 cents, it reported the year before.

Total revenue surged 91 percent to $291 million, compared with $152 million in the prior year. The company pointed to strong gains from servicing loans as well as from its reverse-mortgage and loan-origination units. It netted $78 million from selling loans.

"Walter Investment produced strong first quarter financial and operating results, while effectively managing the recent significant growth of our company," Chairman and CEO Mark O'Brien said in a statement accompanying the results.

Excluding some items, earnings were $1.50 per share. That was better than the 45 cents analysts had forecast, according to the data provider FactSet. Analysts had expected $268 million in revenue.

The results pushed shares in Walter Investment Management up $1.71 to $38.13 in afternoon trading.

Walter Investment Management's stock has traded as high as $49.99 and as low as $17.87 over the past year.