Argo Group Posts $4.7 Million Q4 Loss; FY Net Income $52.3 Million

February 7, 2013

The Bermuda-based Argo Group International Holdings announced the following highlights in its report on results for the fourth quarter of 2012:
• Gross written premiums were $389.7 million, an increase of $47.9 million or 14 percent over the fourth quarter of 2011.
• Pre-tax operating loss* was $7.4 million compared to a loss of $11.0 million in the fourth quarter of 2011.
• Net loss was $4.7 million or $0.19 per diluted share compared to net income of $1.4 million or $0.05 per diluted share in the fourth quarter of 2011.
• The combined ratio was 109.6 percent compared to 112.5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011.
• Estimated pre-tax catastrophe losses, net of reinsurance and estimated reinstatement premiums**, were $47.9 million, all due to Hurricane Sandy. This compares to $36.1 million of catastrophe losses in the fourth quarter of 2011.

*Results are before net realized investment gains, foreign currency exchange (gains) losses, and debt extinguishment costs.
**All subsequent references to catastrophe losses are pre-tax and net of reinsurance and estimated reinstatement premium.

Highlights for the year ended December 31, 2012 include the following:
• Gross written premiums were $1.7 billion, an increase of $200.9 million or 13 percent over 2011.
• Pre-tax operating income was $47.5 million compared to a pre-tax operating loss of $107.6 million for 2011.
• Net income was $52.3 million or $2.01 per diluted share compared to a net loss of $81.9 million or $3.02 per diluted share for 2011.
• The combined ratio was 104.6 percent compared to 119.8 percent for 2011.
• Estimated catastrophe losses were $69.8 million in 2012, compared to $207.8 million of catastrophe losses and $9.3 million aggregate reinsurance cover losses in 2011.
• Book value per share was $60.75 at December 31, 2012, an increase of 9.3 percent from $55.60 at December 31, 2011.

Other highlights included the following:
• During the quarter, the Company repurchased $7.0 million or 211,404 shares of its common stock at an average share price of $33.18, representing 0.8 percent of net shares outstanding at September 30, 2012. During 2012, the Company repurchased $44.6 million or 1,488,308 shares of its common stock, representing 5.7 percent of net shares outstanding at December 31, 2011.
• The Company incurred one-time pre-tax debt extinguishment costs of $2.2 million due to the call premiums paid on redemption of certain capital trust securities.

CEO Mark E. Watson III commented: “Notwithstanding Hurricane Sandy’s impact on the fourth quarter, we made significant progress towards our strategic, operational and financial goals. Three of our four business segments produced premium growth and operating profits for the year, and we continue executing on internal initiatives to enhance operating efficiency and profitability. We have more work to do, but I’m optimistic overall about what we can achieve.”

Source: Argo Group

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