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Fairfax Financial Swings To Net Loss

A double-digit drop in revenue contributed to the loss in the first quarter.

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On April 30, 2009,

Fairfax Financial Holdings

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reported that it swung to a net loss in Q1 FY09, hurt by net investment losses and a double-digit drop in revenue. Net loss for the quarter stood at $60.40 million or $3.55 per share compared to a profit of $631.80 million or $33.78 per share in Q1 FY08. Excluding one-time items, the company's operating earnings rose 17.4% to $154.60 million from $131.70 million a year ago. The latest quarterly consensus estimate was a profit of $4.80 per share.

Total revenue plunged 46.0% to $1.28 billion from $2.37 billion a year ago as a result of lower interest and dividend income and a net loss on investments. Net premiums written rose 4.9% to $1.12 billion from $1.06 billion in the year-ago quarter, helped by the inclusion of Advent and Polish Re in the first quarter of 2009, partially offset by a decline of $120.70 million in net premiums written by the company's other insurance and reinsurance operations. Interest and dividend income dropped 5.0% to $171.10 million from $180.10 million a year ago, hurt by a significant decline in short term interest rates and a $0.40 billion slump in the average investment portfolio. Moreover, net loss on investments stood at $153.00 million compared to a gain of $1.07 billion a year ago due to the inclusion of other than temporary impairments if $213.00 million on certain common stock and bond investments.

The combined ratio of the company's insurance and reinsurance operations for the fourth quarter decreased to 98.7% from 99.7% a year earlier. FFH paid a dividend of $8.00 per share.

Recently, FFH completed the acquisition of all the outstanding shares of Polskie Towarzystwo Reasekuracji Spolka Akcyjna (PTR) for Polish zlotys (PLN) 1.60 per share. In addition, the company acquired 2,478,800 units and 858,500 Class A units of Jazz Air Income Fund and The Brick Group Income Fund.