Third-quarter earnings at Janus Capital Group crept up slightly from a year ago, but much of the gain was due to the exclusion of certain key figures.

While the earnings of $51.3 million represented an increase from $50.9 million last year, the company excluded an $8.2 million facility charge, a $3.6 million after-tax loss stemming from the sale of a subsidiary and $25 million worth of income tax credits. Not counting the above items, Janus’ earnings dipped to $34.2 million, a 45% drop from $62.4 million last year.

"The company believes that excluding these items benefit both management and investors as it facilitates more useful period-to-period comparisons of the company’s operations," Janus said in a press release.

The third-quarter 2003 earnings were marred by $9 million worth of costs stemming from the probe and $2.6 million for corporate restructuring.

Revenue for the third quarter, which was $256.6 million in 2003, dropped to $237.8 million in 2004. The company’s average assets under management also fell for the quarter, from $149.2 billion to $129.2 billion – a 13% decrease.

Back in Sept. 2003, Janus was one of the first firms charged by New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer for the rapid, in-and-out trading practice known as market timing. The company has since tried to repair its image by settling charges and realigning its management team. Slowly, its mutual fund performance has begun to improve, and the company is trying to convert that into a rekindling of its success at the height of the technology boom.

"Our new TV ads are reminding investors that Janus goes to great lengths to find promising companies others may have missed, and that we build portfolios in a highly disciplined manner," Janus Chairman and CEO Steve Scheid said in a statement. "We've also realigned our sales organization and hired two senior executives with a combined 37 years of industry experience to lead our growth initiatives in the institutional and intermediary markets."

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