Fairfax Financial Posts $108.8 Million Q1 Net

Canada’s Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited announced that net earnings for the first quarter of 2003 increased to C$154.6 million (U.S. 108.8 million) or C$10.60 per share (U.S. $7.46), as a result of continued improvement in its insurance and reinsurance operations.

The Group, which has sometimes been called Canada’s Berkshire Hathaway, rebounded sharply from a series of adverse developments in 2002. Gross revenues for the first quarter of 2003 rose to C$2.032 billion (U.S.$1.43 billion), compared to C$1.742 billion (U.S.$ 1.226 billion) in the comparable quarter of 2002.

Fairfax announced that its combined ratios for the quarter improved as well. The ratio for insurance activities in Canada and the U.S. declined to 95.3 percent, compared to 99.4 percent in the first quarter of 2002. Its combined ratio for reinsurance operations rose slightly from 98.8 percent in Q1 2002 to 99 percent in Q1 2003, while the conslidated ratio declined from 100.1 percent to 98.1 percent during the same period.

The announcement noted that “During the 2003 first quarter, net premiums written increased by 18.6% over the previous year (excluding TIG’s discontinued MGA-controlled program business)” to C$1.6095 billion [U.S.$1.133 billion], and realized gains on investments totaled C$228.2 million [U.S. £160.07 million].

The company noted that a detailed first quarter report can be accessed at its website www.fairfax.ca, and that it will hold a conference call at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time on Monday, May 5, 2003 to discuss its first quarter results.