MINNEAPOLIS - Richard Zona, vice chairman and chief financial officer of First Bank System Inc., said he is "not uncomfortable" with analysts' projections of $2.60 per share in 1992 earnings.
In 1991, First Bank posted earnings of $2.13 a share. And in this year's first quarter, the company earned 62 cents a share, compared with 45 cents in the year-earlier period.
Mr. Zona said he does not expect the company to announce any further acquisitions this year. First Bank is now acquiring Bank Shares Inc., which owns Marquette Bank, Minneapolis, and also has announced plans to acquire Western Capital Investment Corp., Denver.
"Over time," the economy is likely to make further acquisitions, Mr. Zona said, but now "we have a fairly full platter."
Refocused on Core Business
At a Piper Jaffray Inc. conference in Minneapolis, Mr. Zona told analysts that First Bank System has completed its two-year turnaround project and that achieved its objectives of cutting costs, increasing efficiency, and building a low-risk "fortress balance sheet."
Mr. Zona said the company has cut its nonperforming loans, significantly increased its loan-loss provision, and refocused on its core businesses of retail and community banking, midsized commercial banking, and trust and investments.
The recent increase in the company's earnings is "sustainable," he said, since the gain reflects basic business operations and were not "hyped up through asset sales."