MORRISTOWN, N.J. -- AmBase Corp. said its earnings for the first quarter dropped 83% to $3 million, or 8 cents a share. The earnings came almost entirely from Carteret Savings Bank, the company's troubled New Jersey thrift.

AmBase earned $36 million, or 97 cents a share, in the first quarter of 1991.

That figure included an extraordinary gain of $56 million associated with the sale of AmBase's insurance activities, as AmBase converted into a thrift holding company.

'In Line with Our Plan'

Carteret, which had $5.3 billion in assets at yearned 1991, reported a pretax profit of $3 million in the first quarter of 1992, compared with a pretax loss of $6 million a year earlier.

Richard A. Bianco, president and chief executive of Ambase and chairman, president, and CEO of Carteret, called the earings "in line with our plan."

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