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Alleghany (Y) Q4 Earnings Beat Estimates, Revenues Improve

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Alleghany Corporation (Y - Free Report) incurred fourth-quarter 2018 operating loss of $4.35 per share, narrower than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of operating loss of $5. Also, the quarterly loss came in against the year-ago quarter’s operating income of $10.12 per share.

The company suffered net loss of $48.30 per share in the reported quarter versus the year-ago quarter’s earnings of $9.96.

Significant level of catastrophe loss hampered the results in the quarter under review. Nonetheless, the period benefited from higher premiums and revenues.

Full-Year Highlights

For 2018, Alleghany delivered operating income of $16.13 per share, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 4.6% and also increased a whopping 462% from the previous year.

Revenues improved 12.4% year over year to $7.1 billion.

Alleghany Corporation Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise


Alleghany Corporation Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise | Alleghany Corporation Quote

Operational Update

Revenues for the fourth quarter improved 22.2% year over year to $2 billion.

Net premiums written rose 8.5% year over year to $1.3 billion.

Net investment income came in at $122.8 million in the quarter under consideration, down nearly 5% year over year. Negative returns from certain partnership investments, impacted by substantial catastrophe loss in the same time frame, were mainly responsible for this downside.

The fourth-quarter’s underwriting loss was $249.2 million versus the year-ago quarter’s profit of $137.2 million.

Total costs and expenses escalated 45.1% to $2.1 billion.

Segment Update

Reinsurance Segment: Net premiums written improved 11.8% to $1 billion owing to TransRe’s purchase during the period of certain renewal rights related to a block of U.S. treaty reinsurance and reinstatement premiums written because of higher catastrophe loss in the reported quarter. However, higher ceded premiums written, pertaining to an increase in retrocessional coverage purchased during 2018 along with reduction in TransRe’s quota share participation in a particular large whole account quota share treaty, partially offset this upside.

Underwriting loss of $208.9 million came in against the year-ago quarter’s profit of $95.7 million. Also, the segment’s fourth-quarter combined ratio deteriorated 2990 basis points to 120.1%.

Insurance Segment: Net premiums written slipped 2.2% to $269.9 million on the inclusion of premiums written by PacificComp prior to its sale during the fourth quarter of 2017.

Underwriting loss of $40.3 million came in against the year-ago quarter’s underwriting profit of $41.5 million. The combined ratio of the reported segment deteriorated 2920 basis points to 114.9%, attributable to a significant catastrophe loss incurred at RSUI.

Financial Update

Alleghany exited the fourth quarter with cash of $1 billion, up 23.9% from $838.4 million at the end of 2017.

Debt balance of $1.7 billion increased 12.4% from 2017-end level.

Allegheny’s shareholder equity at the end of the fourth quarter declined 9.6% to $7.7 billion from $8.5 billion as of Dec 31, 2017.

Book value per share was $527.75 as of Dec 31, 2018, down 4.6% from the level as of Dec 31, 2017.

Share Repurchase Update

In the quarter under discussion, Alleghany bought back 0.3 million shares worth $209.6 million. As of Dec 31, 2018, the company had $271.5 million remaining under its share repurchase authorization.

Zacks Rank

Alleghany carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Performance of Other P&C Insurers

Among other players from the same space having reported fourth-quarter earnings so far, the bottom-line figures of MGIC Investment Corp. (MTG - Free Report) and RLI Corp. (RLI - Free Report) beat the respective Zacks Consensus Estimate while that of The Progressive Corp. (PGR - Free Report) missed the same.

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