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First American Financial's CEO Discusses Q3 2011 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

The forward-looking statements speak only as of the date, they are made and the company does not undertake to update forward-looking statements to reflect circumstances or events that occur after the date the forward-looking statements are made. Risks and uncertainties exist that may cause results to differ materially from those set forth in these forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause the anticipated results to differ from those described in the forward-looking statements are also described on page four of the news release.

With that, I will now turn the call over to Dennis Gilmore.

Dennis J. Gilmore

Thanks, Craig. Good morning and thank you for joining the call. I'll begin by going over our third quarter operational highlights of the company. Total revenue in the third quarter was $965 million, down 4% from the third quarter of 2010, with net income of $21 million, or $0.20 per share. The results of the quarter include a reserve charge of $27.7 million and net realized investment losses of $3.3 million, which, combined, reduced our earnings per share by $0.17.

The Title segment generated a pretax margin of 5.4% on revenues of $898 million. Our Commercial division continued its strong performance, with revenues up 22% compared to last year. And our International division had a strong rebound, with revenues up 24%, driven by the strength of our Canadian operations. The quarter also benefited from lower costs, as we hit our target for the $40 million annualized expense reduction program that we implemented last quarter.

In August, as mortgage interest rates dropped, we saw an increase in open orders. For the quarter, orders were up 14% sequentially, with refinance transactions accounting for 62% of all residential orders. Open title orders held steady in September, and we're seeing a slight downward trend in October, given this trend and our expectation for continued strong commercial activity. The fourth quarter pipeline looks favorable.

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