CHICAGO - Banc One Corp.'s treasurer said the profitability of banks being acquired by the Ohio-based company improved during the second quarter.

Banc One had attracted attention last week with a regulatory filing saying that its profitability would have been 30% lower in the first quarter if all its pending deals had been completed.

Reducing Profit Drag

But the company also indicated that it expected the banks performance to improve by the time the deals are completed. At a conference here Wednesday, treasurer George Meiling presented new evidence to support that view.

Mr. Meiling reported that the drag on profitability would have been about reduced by about half - to 14.5% - in the second quarter, according to pro-forma calculations from recently released earnings reports.

The improving performance by its merger partners is good news for Banc One, whose recent buying spree has raised questions about whether it can sustain its enviable record of high profitability.

|Ahead of Expectations'

By the end of this year, Banc One will complete acquisitions in Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky. Total assets will grow to $74 billion, from $48.4 billion at midyear.

Referring to the last data, Mr. Meiling said: "We are ahead of our own expectations."

Present and prospective operations would have posted a combined 1.3% return on average assets the second quarter, compared with the 1.52% that Banc One actually reported, he said.

Above Industry Averages

The company's 17.83% return on equity would have fallen to 17.11% if the other operations were included, and its 8.28% ratio of equity to assets would have declined to 7.58%. All of the lower totals still would have been well above industry averages.

Actual earnings per share came to 87 cents, compared with a pro forma 88 cents for the combined operations.

Also at the conference, which was sponsored by a unit of Kemper Corp., the chairman and chief executive of Norwest Corp. said he expected the Minneapolis-based company to increase earnings per share by at least 13% annually for the next three years.

Lloyd P. Johnson said smaller loan-loss provisions and gains in efficiency would help fuel expected performance gains.

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