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Fidelity National Financial's CEO Discusses Q2 2011 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Stocks in this article: FNF

This conference call will be available for replay via webcast at our website at fnf.com. It will also be available through phone replay beginning at 2 p.m. Eastern time today through next Tuesday, August 2. The replay number is (800) 475-6701 and the access code is 210285. Let me now turn the call over to our Chairman, Bill Foley.

William Foley

Thanks, Dan. We're pleased with our financial results this quarter, particularly in our Title insurance business. Despite a continued sluggish real estate environment, we were able to generate an impressive 11.7% pretax margin in our Title business, a 200 basis point increase over the prior year and a sequential increase of 240 basis points from the first quarter of this year.

While refinance orders represented 51% of closed order volumes this quarter versus 46% in prior year, we still produced a 5% increase in the fee per file. Much of this can be attributed to the strength of our Commercial business as we generated nearly $94 million in Commercial revenue in the second quarter, a 38% increase over the prior year and a sequential increase of 43% from the first quarter of this year.

The Commercial business produced a fee per file increase of 26% over both the prior quarter and the first quarter of this year. The impact of cost reduction initiatives also contributed to our strong 11.7% pretext title margin. On a sequential basis from the first quarter, title segment personnel costs and other operating expenses increased by less than 1%, while title gross operating revenue grew by nearly 11%. We will continue to manage our Title business with the same discipline, seeking to maximize profitability in any market environment.

Two weeks ago, we announced the sale of our flood insurance business for approximately $210 million. That flood business has been the nation's largest flood insurance provider and a very profitable and consistent business for FNF for nearly 10 years. We feel this transaction is a great opportunity to realize the value of the business we have created and redeploy the capital into other uses that can continue to create increased value for our shareholders. We are proud of the flood insurance business we created and we wish them future success with their new investment partners. We expect the transaction to close during the fourth quarter, and the sale will generate a pretax gain of approximately $154 million.

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