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Argo Group Announces 2012 First Quarter Financial Results

Stocks in this article: AGII

Argo Group International Holdings, Ltd. (NasdaqGS: AGII), an international underwriter of specialty insurance and reinsurance products, today announced financial results for the three months ended March 31, 2012.

Argo Group Chief Executive Officer Mark E. Watson III said, “Our results this quarter show that last year’s actions and strategic initiatives are beginning to bear fruit. I am confident that, as this year progresses, we will see further evidence of action being translated into results.”

HIGHLIGHTS FOR THE FIRST QUARTER ENDED MARCH 31, 2012:

  • Gross written premiums were $396.3 million, an increase of $48.5 million over the first quarter of 2011.
  • Pre-tax income was $28.1 million compared to a pre-tax loss of $96.7 million in the first quarter of 2011.
  • Pre-tax operating income 1 was $17.9 million compared to a pre-tax operating loss 1 of $89.4 million in the first quarter of 2011.
  • Net income was $19.6 million or $0.74 per diluted share compared to a net loss of $94.1 million or $3.42 per diluted share in the first quarter of 2011.
  • Net operating income 1 per diluted share was $0.54 compared to a net operating loss 1 per diluted share of $2.92 in the first quarter of 2011.
  • Estimated pre-tax catastrophe losses, net of reinsurance and estimated reinstatement premiums, were $4.0 million compared to $113.1 million in the first quarter of 2011.
  • Book value per share (BVPS) was $57.91 at March 31, 2012, an increase of 4.2% from $55.60 at Dec. 31, 2011. The book value amounts reflect the effect of the company's adoption of new guidance related to accounting for costs associated with acquiring or renewing insurance contracts. This guidance was retrospectively applied to prior periods.

1 – Results are before net realized investment gains and foreign currency exchange losses.

OTHER QUARTER HIGHLIGHTS:

  • During the first three months of 2012, Argo Group repurchased $10.0 million or 338,876 shares of its outstanding common stock, which represents 1.3 percent of shares outstanding at Dec. 31, 2011.

FINANCIAL RESULTS

For the three months ended March 31, 2012, Argo Group reported net income of $19.6 million or $0.74 per diluted share. In the first quarter of 2012, the company produced net operating income of $14.3 million or $0.54 per diluted share. These results were impacted by first quarter 2012 pre-tax catastrophe losses, net of reinsurance and estimated reinstatement premiums, of $4.0 million. By comparison, the first quarter of 2011 produced a net loss of $94.1 million or $3.42 per diluted share. In the first quarter of 2011, the company produced a net operating loss of $80.5 million or $2.92 per diluted share. First quarter 2011 results were impacted by pre-tax catastrophe losses, net of reinsurance and estimated reinstatement premiums, of $113.1 million. The difference between net income and net operating income for the three months ended March 31, 2012, reflects $13.1 million of pre-tax realized investment gains associated with the company’s investment portfolio and a $2.9 million pre-tax foreign currency exchange loss. (See the complete reconciliation in the attached tables.) Included in the results for the three months ended March 31, 2012 was favorable prior year loss development of $3.3 million versus unfavorable prior year loss development of $4.7 million for the three months ended March 31, 2011.

Gross written premiums for the three months ended March 31, 2012 and 2011 were $396.3 million and $347.8 million, respectively. Total revenue for the three months ended March 31, 2012 and 2011 was $323.1 million and $297.2 million, respectively. Earned premiums for the three months ended March 31, 2012 and 2011 were $277.3 million and $261.4 million, respectively. Net investment income for the three months ended March 31, 2012 and 2011 was $31.4 million and $33.4 million, respectively. Net realized investment gains for the three months ended March 31, 2012 and 2011 were $13.1 million and $2.3 million, respectively.

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