ACE Q2 Profit Climbs in First Earnings Report After Chubb Announcement

By | July 22, 2015

ACE Ltd., the insurer that agreed this month to acquire Chubb Corp., said second-quarter profit rose 21 percent as policy sales climbed.

Net income increased to $942 million, or $2.86 a share, from $779 million, or $2.28, a year earlier, the Zurich-based company said Tuesday in a statement. Operating income was $2.40 a share, beating the $2.29 estimate of 21 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

Chief Executive Officer Evan Greenberg agreed on July 1 to buy Chubb for more than $28 billion in what would be the biggest property-and-casualty acquisition since the 2008 bailout of American International Group Inc. The purchase would help ACE compete in the high-net-worth market covering mansions and yachts, and will add workers’ compensation and commercial auto operations.

“We view the deal as an aggressive, strategically sound and consistent move,” Ryan Tunis, an analyst with Credit Suisse Group AG, said in a July 1 note to clients. He boosted his 2017 earnings forecast to as much as $10.71 a share from $10.14, citing the deal.

ACE slipped less than 1 percent to $103.88 as of 4 p.m. in New York trading and has declined 9.6 percent this year.

Book value, a measure of assets minus liabilities, rose to $91.27 from $90.81 as of March 31. Premium revenue from P&C operations climbed 5.5 percent from a year ago to $4.28 billion.

ACE has been expanding in emerging markets through acquisitions, taking over insurers in Mexico, Brazil, Malaysia and Indonesia since 2010. Greenberg’s firm has been more exposed to foreign-exchange risks, which weighed on earnings in the first quarter.

ACE’s second-quarter combined ratio for global P&C was 87.7 percent, meaning the insurer retained 12.3 cents on each premium dollar after claims and expenses. That compares with 87.5 percent a year earlier, ACE said on Tuesday.

Investment income rose to $562 million from $556 million a year earlier, and was hurt by foreign currency movement of $11 million, the insurer said. Most of ACE’s holdings are in foreign debt, corporate bonds and mortgage-backed securities.

ACE formed a Bermuda-based reinsurance venture with BlackRock Inc. this year, raising $800 million. The new firm will hold risks initiated by Greenberg’s insurer.

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