Ohio Casualty Net Rises

It beats estimates.
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Ohio Casualty

(OCAS)

said fourth-quarter earnings rose 36% from a year ago, boosted by a strengthened underwriting performance.

The property-casualty insurer earned $77.3 million, or $1.19 a share, in the quarter, compared with $56.9 million, or 82 cents a share, a year ago. Adjusted for investment gains, earnings were $67.6 million, or $1.04 a share, in the most recent quarter. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call were looking for 62 cents a share for the recent quarter.

Fourth-quarter revenue fell 3% from a year ago to $427.5 million. Analysts were expecting revenue of $413.5 million.

Combined ratio, which indicates profitability of the insurer's operations, improved 910 basis points to 85.1% for all the segments taken together due to disciplined underwriting quality, lower claim frequency, lower catastrophe losses and favorable reserve development.

During the fourth quarter, Ohio Casualty repurchased 945,990 shares at an average cost of $26.30 a share.

"Our progress was the result of focusing primarily on strengthening our underwriting performance, reducing our expenses and improving our balance sheet." the company said.

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