Star Banc Corp., said Tuesday it would take a fourth-quarter restructuring charge that analysts estimated would exceed half the company's expected net income for the period.

Star Banc officials said the charge stemmed from a consolidation program expected to cut operating expenses by $5 million this year.

The executives did not say how much the charge would be. Anthony Polini, an analyst for A.G. Edwards & Sons, estimated it would range between $10 million and $15 million.

Profit Was $20 Million

A company official called that estimate "high" but could not be more specific.

Star Banc earned $20 million in the third quarter, for annualized returns of 1.05% on assets and 13.75% on equity.

In prepared remarks, officials of the Cincinnati-based bank said a combination of "revenue enhancements and cost savings" eventually would raise annual net income by between $13 million and $20 million.

No timetable was given, and a company spokesman could not say whether jobs would be cut.

The $7.5 billion-asset company in July rejected a takeover offer from rival Fifth Third Bancorp valued at $42 a share. It called the offer "wholly inadequate."

Since then, Star Banc common has been trading in the range of $30 to $33 per share. McDonald & Co. analyst Fred Cummings said the stock still incorporated somewhat of a takeover premium.

Value Questioned

In the short term, Mr. Cummings said, Star Banc appears overpriced, given that many of its performance-enhancing initiatives are just now getting under way.

The outlook is more favorable for Star Banc stock in the long terms, said Mr. Cummings.

"If the management team doesn't deliver on its projections, it probably will be forced to sell," he said. "If it does, trading values will rise."

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