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XL Group Plc's CEO Discusses Q4 2011 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

And so on to the third item. Tax. Now this item would not be obvious just from reading the materials you have in front of you. At XL, we typically have an effective global operating tax rate in the mid-teens. And this was true through the first few quarters of 2011. But in the fourth quarter, an unfortunate phenomena took place. Pete will get more granular about this, but it has a simple idea behind it. The heavy losses we experienced, such as the Thailand floods, ultimately were written in low tax jurisdictions. While our positive earnings, such as the reserve releases in our London markets operation, came in a high tax jurisdiction. As a result, the effective tax rates for the year, instead of being in the mid-teens, was in the mid-30s. And in the fourth quarter, this tax item added fully $59 million to our operating loss. This rare phenomenon of tax adding insult to injury has happened at XL before, in cases of high volatility, low earnings quarters like we just experienced. In general, however, and over time, our tax strategies have proven to be very effective. And while we will always work to make sure our global structure is tax efficient, there are no obvious changes suggested by our studies of this fluke pattern. I should add that the move of the holding company last year to Ireland, has nothing to do with this result.

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