Citi Posts Profit on Smith Barney Gain

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Citigroup Inc, the banking giant scrambling to survive the financial crisis, reported a $4.3 billion second-quarter profit thanks to gains on its Smith Barney deal, though its primary banking businesses continue to suffer from rising credit losses.

The bank, propped up with $45 billion of taxpayer money since markets imploded last fall, recorded a $6.7 billion gain from merging Smith Barney into a brokerage venture with Morgan Stanley. Under accounting rules, Citi gets to mark up its entire stake in the venture, of which Morgan owns 51 percent.

The gain boosted net income to $4.28 billion, or 49 cents a share, compared with a year-ago loss of $2.50 billion, or 55 cents a share.

Quarterly revenue rose 71 percent to $30.0 billion, with the rise due almost entirely to the Smith Barney gain as well as net write-ups.

Credit costs increased to $12.4 billion, including an addition of $3.9 billion to loan loss reserves. That brings the total allowance for loan losses to 5.6 percent of total loans.

Shares of Citigroup are down 94 percent since peaking in May 2007 and have fallen by half this year, but they have tripled since financial services stocks began rallying in March. They were up 2 percent in premarket trade.

The bank is expected to soon complete a swap that will convert the U.S. government’s investment into a 34 percent equity stake in Citigroup.

(Reporting by Joseph Giannone; editing by John Wallace)