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T. Rowe Price could restart its expansion plans next year

ShareholdersT. Rowe PriceJapan Earthquake and Tsunami (2011)IndiaMutual Funds

T. Rowe Price will likely occupy two new buildings at its Owings Mills campus next year, more than three years after the Baltimore money manager put its expansion plans on hold during the recession, the company's chief executive said Tuesday.

James A.C. Kennedy said Tuesday that the company would make a decision about opening the two buildings in the next month or so.

"So the likelihood is sometime in the second half of 2013 we're moving in," he said after Price's annual shareholder meeting at its Owings Mills campus.

The move into the new buildings — the fifth and sixth structures on Price's sprawling Baltimore County campus — would come as the company continues to hire. Last year, the firm added 203 employees, including more than 100 in the Baltimore region.

Price, one of the largest private employers in Baltimore County, now occupies four office buildings in Owings Mills.

The firm now has 150 job openings, mostly in the region, for workers with investment experience, technology skills and other talents, Kennedy said. By the end of the year, the company said, it could have a net increase of 200 to 300 workers due to replacements, attrition and the creation of new positions.

The workforce now totals 5,255 employees, with more than half based in Owings Mills. The workforce is just below the company's peak of 5,319 in 2008.

In 2009, during the economic downturn, Price laid off 288 employees, most of them in its Baltimore and Owings Mills offices, and delayed plans to add new workers at its Baltimore County campus.

Price expected to move into the two new buildings that year when construction was completed.

"Because shareholders stopped calling as much and processing went down relative to our expectations, we didn't need those buildings as early as we thought," Kennedy said. "We put them in mothballs for a little bit."

Since then, Price has recovered, reporting record assets under management, revenue and net income last year. Assets under management topped nearly $490 billion at the end of 2011, while the company's profit rose 15 percent to $773 million. Sales rose 16 percent to $2.7 billion.

Kennedy told shareholders that the company performed well despite the challenging economy last year, when numerous factors — including the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the European sovereign debt crisis and political infighting in Washington — undermined investor confidence.

Having rebounded from the recession, the company is "positioned well" to perform for clients and shareholders, Kennedy said. The firm attracted $14 billion in new client money last year and has increased its dividend annually since 1986, when it went public.

Brian Rogers, Price's chairman and chief investment officer, said the company would keep growing by building on its existing mutual funds and products, introducing new investment products and entering new markets outside the United States.

"We're trying to grow in a prudent matter," he said.

hanah.cho@baltsun.com

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