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PNC hits record profits of $2.6 billion |

PNC hits record profits of $2.6 billion

| Tuesday, January 23, 2007 12:00 a.m

PNC Financial Services Group posted record earnings of nearly $2.6 billion for 2006, including a $1.3 billion gain from from the merger of its money manager BlackRock with Merrill Lynch Investment Managers.

The earnings were double the $1.3 billion that PNC earned in 2005. The bank had owned 69 percent of New York-based BlackRock, which merged last September. PNC retains 34 percent of BlackRock.

On a per-share basis, PNC’s earnings of $8.73 were an all-time record for PNC.

PNC earned $376 million in the fourth quarter, a 5.9 percent increase over year-ago results. The current period benefited from increased fees from money management.

Net income from PNC’s retail bank declined to $184 million last quarter from $195 million the year before. The difference mainly stemmed from an increase in provisions for possible loan losses among PNC’s small-business loans.

Assets on PNC’s books, primarily loans, rose to $101.8 billion as of Dec. 31, the first time that its assets exceeded the $100 billion mark.

Annual results also included a $158 million loss from the restructuring of PNC’s securities and mortgage-loan portfolios, and $47 million in costs to integrate BlackRock and the Merrill Lynch unit.

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