Mercury: First Quarter Income Rose on Lower Losses

April 30, 2012

Mercury General Corp. reported on Monday that net income in the first quarter rose to $73.4 million from $58.2 million during the same time last year due to lower loss expenses and gains on investments.

Income rose to $1.34 per diluted share from $1.06 per share last year. Analysts had an average estimate of 68 cents per share.

The Los Angeles, Calif.-based company’s combined accident period ratio was 97.6 percent compared with 98.2 percent in 2011.

Mercury reported net premiums written of $658,287 compared with $658,217 million last year. Net realized investment gains rose to $52,663 million from $28,690 million last year. Total expenses fell from $628,632 in 2011 to $620,681 in the first quarter of the year.

The board of directors also declared a quarterly dividend of 61 cents per share to be paid on June 28, to shareholders of record on June 14.

Shares of Mercury (MCY) were down 19 cents to $45.31, near its 52-week high on the New York Stock Exchange in afternoon trading.

Mercury writes personal automobile insurance products, homeowners, commercial auto and property.

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