Still smarting from troubles with its defunct mortgage lending unit, Republic Bancshares of St. Petersburg, Fla., said it expects to post 2000 losses of $4.5 million to $5 million and that it has a deal to sell five more branches in its effort to return to profitability.

The $2.5 billion-asset company announced late Thursday that it would take a charge of $12.3 million in the fourth quarter, and that as a result its losses for 2000 would be 45 to 50 cents per share, against earnings of 95 cents a year earlier. Analysts predicted it would have 2000 earnings of 58 cents a share.

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