Facing delisting, MuniMae shares fall 47%

The Baltimore Sun

Shares in Municipal Mortgage & Equity LLC, the Baltimore company known as MuniMae, lost nearly half their value yesterday after the company announced late Monday that it was cutting its dividend and was facing delisting by the New York Stock Exchange.

MuniMae shares closed yesterday at $9.19, down 47 percent from Monday's close at $17.20, just before the announcement.

The company has been struggling for more than a year to restate its earnings from 2004, 2005 and 2006. On Monday, it said it wouldn't meet a March 3 deadline set by the New York Stock Exchange, meaning the exchange will likely drop MuniMae, leaving its shares to trade over the counter.

The company says it expects to have complete, audited reports through 2006 by the end of May.

Michael L. Falcone, chief executive officer, told investors and analysts in a conference call yesterday, "As a company, we are both disappointed and embarrassed that we made these mistakes in the first instance, and at the amount of time it's taking to fix them."

Falcone said the company would follow the NYSE's appeal process, but that it was not optimistic about retaining its listing in the short term. It hopes to be relisted after catching up on its audited financials, he said.

Falcone said the board is anxious to restore the dividend when MuniMae finishes paying for the restatement - more than 200 employees and consultants are working on the books - and when the financial markets stabilize.

"Once we return to normal," he said, "there should be significant cash generation above the dividend."

It arranges partnerships and syndicates to finance development and alternative energy projects, and has about 525 employees, including about 125 at its Baltimore headquarters.


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