Brian M. O’Hara, President and CEO of Bermuda’s XL Capital Ltd., speaking at the Bermuda Angle Conference yesterday, announced that the company estimated 2004 earnings would be between $9.05 to $9.25 per ordinary share, “barring any large catastrophes or unusual loss activity.”
The figures were slightly below analysts’ forecasts, which had given an average estimate of $9.28 per share. Largely as a result, XL’s share price dropped almost three percent on the NYSE, closing at $73.61, down $2.24.
Commenting on the year ahead O’Hara stated: “While we are not top line driven, we do expect growth in revenue in all three business segments and we expect to compete based on our advantages of strategic positions, capital strength and quality underwriting.”
He indicated that XL believes that the current “long tail casualty markets are likely to remain quite hard through 2004, while the property markets will feel the effects of increased levels of competition, but maintain adequate pricing levels. Overall, because our business portfolio is well positioned in our chosen markets, we have expectations of enjoying superior profit levels. This will be supported by the continued strength of our balance sheet and the success of our branding efforts.”
O’Hara also provided an update on the status of the North American casualty reinsurance claims review currently being carried out. “We expect to be able to announce the outcome around mid January after our independent auditor has completed its work and discussed its review with management and our Audit Committee. The timing will coincide with our normal year end reserve review.”
A replay of the presentation may be viewed on the Bermuda Angle website: www.bermudaangle.com and the XL’s presentation slides are available on XL Capital’s website: www.xlcapital.com.
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