Wilmington Trust Corp. is showing promise for new owner M&T Bank Corp., but it remains as much as ever a work in progress.
New details of Wilmington Trust’s performance, included in M&T’s 10-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission last week, prompt that conclusion.
Two coveted pieces of information appear in the 195-page filing: Wilmington Trust’s standalone revenue and profits from May 16, when its sale to M&T closed, through yearend.
Wilmington Trust earned $18.6 million on $380.9 million of revenue in that period. Buffalo, N.Y.-based M&T reported full-year profits for the entire company of $859 million on $4 billion of revenue.
Wilmington Trust’s revenue stream remains “pretty much intact” and fairly strong, says Marty Mosby, an analyst with Guggenheim Securities LLC. But elevated expenses and a slump in the equity markets are “submerging its overall profitability,” he says.
Wilmington Trust had to sell itself when homebuilder losses in its commercial bank began to threaten its all-important corporate and wealth advisory franchise. It had been hard to gauge its financial performance under M&T because of a lack of comparable data.
The update validates what M&T executives have been saying since closing the $736 million acquisition in May, Mosby says: Wilmington Trust has potential, but realizing it will come down to how well the integration goes.
“It’s very early. Acquisitions usually take a full two years to reach the full capacity of their potential,” Mosby says.
Wilmington Trust’s net income – while sharply lower than he had forecast – was understandably soft because of economic volatility that hurt the wealth and corporate advisory markets, Mosby says. Its revenue was only slightly lower than he had expected. That suggests its core franchise of helping wealthy people and corporations manage their case is in good shape.
The details offer an imperfect picture of what it may become, Mosby says.
Its profits to date do not reflect the $80 million in annual costs M&T expects to remove from the franchise, he says. M&T could also realize considerable gains as the trust markets rebound and it begins selling Wilmington Trust products to M&T customers.
The revenue is largely there, he says. The profits have to be, well, earned.