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Old Republic Profit Up

EPS rises 4.3%.

Old Republic International

(ORI) - Get Free Report

, an insurance holding company, posted a 2.7% increase in profits for the first quarter.

The company earned $117.4 million, or 51 cents a share, in the quarter, compared with $114.3 million, or 49 cents a share, a year ago. The company posted net operating earnings, excluding investment gains, of 49 cents a share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were expecting earnings of 49 cents a share in the most recent quarter.

First-quarter revenue rose 7.1% from a year ago to $942.9 million. Analysts were expecting revenue of $911.15 million in the most recent quarter.

Revenue in general insurance rose 7.1%, mortgage guaranty 3.3%, and title insurance 9.2%.

The first quarter was benefited from strength in general insurance operations, but was hurt by a cyclical downturn in title insurance profitability and lower mortgage guaranty underwriting margins, the company said.

In general insurance segment the composite underwriting ratio, the most widely accepted indicator of underwriting performance in the industry decreased, 90 basis points to 90.4% from a year ago same period.

Pretax operating income in title insurance segment decreased 40.6% to $7.6 million, hit by a 23% drop in revenue from Western United States and greater expense load.

The composite underwriting ratio in mortgage guaranty segment rose to 62.5% from 55.3% in the year ago period.

This story was created through a joint venture between and IRIS.