Cendant Corp.'s real estate operations had second- quarter earnings of $354.9 million, a 44% increase from a year earlier, the company said.

The Cendant Mortgage unit of the realty group reported a 121% earnings increase, to $94 million. The group also includes the Century 21, Coldwell Banker, and ERA residential real estate brokerages and a corporate employee relocation service.

The real estate operations had "better than expected strength in the quarter," said James J. Pettit, senior analyst at Hambrecht & Quist in San Francisco.

Cendant Corp., the parent company, reported its second-quarter and six- month results and said it had completed its investigation of accounting irregularities and errors in its non-real-estate businesses.

Cendant was formed by the merger of CUC International Inc. with HFS. Accounting irregularities in CUC businesses, which did not affect results in the real estate operations, had inflated earnings by about $640 million from 1995 through 1997, analysts said.

The post-merger company's second-quarter diluted earnings per share were 24 cents, compared to a loss of 11 cents the year before.

Excluding a restructuring charge, expenses from resolving the accounting issues, and a second-quarter 1997 charge related to the PHH acquisition, Cendant had 23 cents of earnings per share, diluted, up 44% from 16 cents a year earlier.

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