MBIA Inc., the holding company for Municipal Bond Investors Assurance Corp., said yesterday that its third-quarter net income rose 9% to $65 million, or $1.54 per share, from $59.8 million, or $1.41 per share, a year earlier.

For the first nine months, net income fell slightly to $195.7 million, or $4.65 per share, from $196.3 million, or $4.62 per share, in the first nine months of 1993, when earnings were boosted an additional 30 cents per share because of an accounting change. MBIA had fewer shares outstanding in the 1994 period, which accounted for the increase in earnings per share.

Unlike most of the other bond insurers, MBIA was able to report a gain in third-quarter profits in the face of a sharp drop in tax-exempt volume. In part, that's because MBIA received a substantial boost to earnings from unearned premium reserves generated from its insured portfolio, the largest in the industry.

"Our third-quarter results underscore the company's strong earnings performance despite lower municipal volume and reduced refunding activity," David H. Elliott, MBIA's chairman and chief executive officer, said in a prepared statement. "MBIA's core earnings growth remains strong and we are seeing growing contributions from our investment management and European businesses."

MBIA's core earnings, which exclude refunding activity, rose 14% in the third quarter and 15% in the year's first nine months.

Net premiums written declined 34.2% in the third quarter, to $68.1 billion from $103.5 billion a year earlier. For the first nine months, net premiums written fell 27.9% to $235.7 billion from $326.7 billion in the first nine months of 1993.

The firm's qualified statutory capital base stood at $1.7 billion at Sept. 30, up from $1.5 billion at Dec. 31, 1993.

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