Bermuda-based ACE Limited reported net income for the first quarter ended March 31, 2007 of $701 million or $2.10 per ordinary share after payment of preferred dividends, compared with net income of $489 million or $1.46 per share for the same quarter last year, a 43 percent rise.
Income excluding net realized gains/losses was $663 million, or $1.98 per share, compared with $477 million or $1.43 per share for the same quarter of last year. ACE noted: “The first quarter 2006 results included an $80 million pre-tax charge pertaining to the settlement with certain governmental agencies of their investigations of various insurance industry business practices. The combined ratio for the first quarter was 87.1 percent. Annualized return on average equity based on the first quarter was 18.5 percent.”
President and CEO Evan Greenberg commented: “ACE had a very strong start to the year. We produced record net and operating income for the first quarter, and our tangible book value per share grew at a 22 percent annual pace. The quality of earnings was excellent, with strong contributions from both underwriting and investment income. Net written premium growth was in line with market conditions. Globally, we are maintaining underwriting discipline and avoiding business where prices and terms don’t meet our standards while driving for growth in those areas where we see opportunity.”
Other first quarter operating highlights were as follows:
— P&C net premiums written decreased 2 percent over the prior year quarter. Insurance net premiums written increased 2 percent and reinsurance net premiums written decreased 21 percent.
— P&C net premiums earned increased 9 percent over the prior year quarter. Insurance net premiums earned increased 12 percent and reinsurance net premiums earned decreased 8 percent.
— The combined ratio was 87.1 percent for the first quarter compared with 90.6 percent for the prior year quarter which included an $80 million investigation settlement charge.
— P&C underwriting income was $384 million for the first quarter.
— Operating cash flow amounted to $1.2 billion for the first quarter.
— Invested assets increased by $1.8 billion or 5 percent during the first quarter to $38.9 billion.
— Net investment income in the first quarter increased 22 percent over the prior year quarter, to $451 million.
— Shareholders’ equity at March 31, 2007 increased 5 percent from year-end 2006, to $14.9 billion.
— Tangible equity (1) at March 31, 2007 rose to $12.2 billion, a gain of 6 percent from year-end 2006.
— Return on average equity for the first quarter was 18.5 percent; excluding FAS 115, it was 19.4 percent.
— Book value per share as of March 31, 2007 increased $1.84 from December 31, 2006 to $43.87(4).
— Tangible book value per share as of March 31, 2007 increased 6 percent from December 31, 2006 to $35.55.
ACE will host its first quarter earnings conference call and web cast today April 25, beginning at 8:30 a.m. ET. The earnings conference call will be available via live and archived web cast at: www.acelimited.com, or by dialing 800-819-9193 (within the United States) or 913-981-4911 (international); passcode 1477658. Please refer to the ACE Limited web site in the Investor Information section under Calendar of Events for details.
A replay of the call will be available from approximately 11:30 a.m. ET on Wednesday, April 25, 2007 until Friday, May 25, 2007. To listen to the replay, dial 888-203-1112 (in the United States) or 719-457-0820 (international); passcode 1477658.
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