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remains comfortable with a pretax earnings forecast of $350 million to $390 million for its

Conseco Finance

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unit in 2001, and the company said current projections "are tending toward the top of that range."

Conseco, a financial services holding company, also said it expects the finance unit to contribute $350 million in cash from operations to the parent company this year, up from a previous projection of $300 million.

The company also said the delinquencies of 60 days or more in its manufactured housing portfolio fell to 2.07% of the total value of the portfolio in February. The percentage of 60-plus day delinquencies rose to 2.2% in December and January, which the company attributed to the distractions employees felt after the announcement of the proposed sale of Conseco Finance last April.

Conseco expects the total amount of delinquencies of 60 days or more to decline by more than $70 million at the end of the first quarter, compared with the end of last year. The company forecast that delinquencies of 30 or more days will decline by more than $168 million by the end of the quarter.

Shares of Conseco rose 18 cents, or 1.3%, to $13.72 in recent

New York Stock Exchange