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NWNL REPORTS RECORD NET INCOME BEFORE ACCOUNTING CHARGE

 First Quarter Highlights
 -- First quarter net income increases 55 percent(a)
 -- First quarter sales up 15 percent
 -- Record sales in employee benefits, life and health reinsurance, and 401(k) retirement plan operations
 -- $7.5 million one-time after-tax charge for SFAS No. 106 and SFAS No. 109
 FIRST QUARTER
 (In millions, except per share amounts)
 1993 1992 Pct. Change
 Income excluding realized
 investment gains (losses) $24.2 $17.1 42
 Realized investment gains
 (losses) after tax (5.9) (5.3) 11
 Income before cumulative
 effect of accounting changes(a) $18.3 $11.8 55
 Per common share, fully diluted(b)
 Income excluding realized
 investment gains (losses) $.74 $.57 30
 Realized investment gains
 (losses) after tax (.19) (.20) (5)
 Income before cumulative effect
 of accounting changes(a) $.55 $.37 49
 (a) Before the net effect of the one-time $7.5 million after-tax charge (25 cents per share on a post-split, fully diluted basis) in the first quarter of 1993 for the required implementation of SFAS No. 106 and SFAS No. 109.
 (b) All per-share numbers reflect the 2-for-1 stock split to be effective May 21, 1993.
 NWNL COMPANIES REPORTS RECORD NET INCOME
 IN FIRST QUARTER BEFORE ACCOUNTING CHARGE
 MINNEAPOLIS, April 29 /PRNewswire/ -- The NWNL Companies (NYSE: NWN) today reported net income of $18.3 million(c) for the first quarter of 1993, a record for any quarter since the company demutualized in 1989. This represents an increase of 55 percent over the $11.8 million earned during the first three months of 1992. On a post-split, fully diluted basis, first quarter net income was 55 cents(c) per common share, compared with 37 cents per common share for the first quarter of 1992.
 First quarter net income after the $7.5 million after-tax charge from the required implementation of new accounting standards was $10.9 million, or 30 cents per common share on a post-split, fully diluted basis.
 NWNL announced earlier this year that first quarter results would reflect the $7.5 million one-time after-tax charge, which is the net effect of NWNL's adoption of Statement of Financial Accounting Standards (SFAS) No. 106, "Employers' Accounting for Postretirement Benefits Other Than Pensions" (a $9.0 million after-tax charge), and SFAS No. 109, "Accounting for Income Taxes," (a $1.5 million tax benefit).
 Income excluding realized investment gains and losses was $24.2 million(c) in the first quarter, up 42 percent from $17.1 million in the first quarter last year.
 "Our record net income before the charge demonstrates the success of our efforts to reduce expenses, manage interest margins and improve asset quality," said John G. Turner, NWNL chairman, president and chief executive officer. "These initiatives are having the favorable impact on earnings that we anticipated, and we remain committed to continued profitable growth."
 First quarter sales for the enterprise as measured by new premium increased 15 percent over first quarter 1992 totals. Much of this gain can be attributed to substantial increases within key businesses of the company's individual insurance segment, and record sales in the employee benefits, life and health reinsurance, and the 401(k) retirement plan operations.
 "The strong first quarter sales results reflect the momentum that began late last year and our efforts to further improve premium growth by focusing on our target markets and expanding our distribution capabilities," Turner said. "We were especially pleased with results in a number of areas, including a 16 percent increase in tax-sheltered annuity sales at Northern Life; an 82 percent increase in variable life sales at Northwestern National Life; and a 56 percent increase in group life sales in the Employee Benefits Division at Northwestern National Life."
 In the individual segment, first quarter operating income (which excludes realized investment gains and losses) was up 12 percent over the same period last year, excluding the $4.5 million after-tax contribution to earnings during the first quarter of 1992 resulting from the SFAS No. 97 effects of repricing certain life policies for the 1990 Deferred Acquisition Cost (DAC) tax. This increase occurred despite unfavorable mortality across the segment, which decreased earnings by approximately $1 million after tax.
 Operating income in NWNL's employee benefits segment was up 23 percent over the same period last year, excluding the $2.1 million after-tax restructuring charge taken during the first quarter of 1992. Operating income in the life and health reinsurance segment rose 39 percent over last year, attributable to favorable mortality and a 21 percent increase in earned premium.
 Aside from these results in its core operations, NWNL's Guaranteed Investment Contract (GIC) and Par Group Annuity lines of business reported a net loss as a result of losses from investments underlying that declining block of business. NWNL ceased writing new GIC business in 1991.
 Problem investments for the first quarter were $283 million, up slightly from $275 million at year-end 1992, but down 21 percent from $357 million as of March 31, 1992. On an after-tax basis, write-offs and allowances for problem investments in the first quarter were $7.8 million, down 20 percent from $9.8 million in the fourth quarter of 1992, and down 16 percent from the $9.3 million in the first quarter of last year.
 Insurance in force increased to $112.4 billion as of March 31, 1993, up from $107.8 billion at Dec. 31, 1992. Total assets at the end of the first quarter were $9.4 billion.
 The NWNL Companies is a Minneapolis-based holding company specializing in the life and health insurance and annuity businesses.
 (c) Before the net effect of the one-time $7.5 million after-tax charge (25 cents per share on a post-split, fully diluted basis) in the first quarter of 1993 for the required implementation of SFAS No. 106 and SFAS No. 109.
 THE NWNL COMPANIES, INC.
 FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS
 (In thousands, except per share data)
 (Unaudited)
 Three Months Ended
 3/31/93 3/31/92
 Premium revenues(d) $167,292 $150,298
 Total revenues 366,704 344,058
 Income excluding realized
 investment gains (losses)(e) 24,225 17,110
 Realized investment gains (losses)
 (after tax)(e) (5,879) (5,297)
 Income before cumulative effect
 of accounting changes 18,346 11,813
 Cumulative effect of accounting changes (7,464) --
 Net income $10,882 $11,813
 Per common share(g):
 Primary:
 Income excluding realized investment
 gains (losses)(e) $.80 $.62
 Realized investment gains (losses) (after tax)(e) (.21) (.22)
 Income before cumulative effect
 of accounting changes .59 .40
 Cumulative effect of accounting changes (.27) --
 Net income $.32 $.40
 Fully diluted:
 Income excluding realized investment
 gains (losses)(e) $.74 $.57
 Realized investment gains (losses) (after tax)(e) (.19) (.20)
 Income before cumulative effect
 of accounting changes .55 .37
 Cumulative effect of accounting changes (.25) --
 Net income $.30 $.37
 Average common and common equivalent
 shares (primary)(g) 27,655 23,965
 Average common shares assuming maximum
 dilution (fully diluted)(g) 30,386 26,677
 New premiums(f):
 Individual life $16,105 $16,125
 Individual annuity 83,824 83,157
 Group life 11,879 9,997
 Group health 32,136 16,354
 Group premium equivalents 65,815 82,622
 Reinsurance 12,587 9,931
 Retirement plan deposits 37,166 4,650
 Guaranteed investment contract deposits -- 1,773
 Total $259,512 $224,609
 (d) Premium revenues are determined in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. Premium revenues are larger when presented on a statutory basis than when presented in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles.
 (e) Income excluding realized investment gains (losses) and after tax realized investment gains (losses) are not presented on the statement of operations, however they are shown here for analysis purposes.
 (f) New premiums represent amounts received on new business written. New premiums are annualized for individual and group life and health insurance. Group premium equivalents represent amounts received on Administrative Services Only and similar contracts.
 (g) All share and per share amounts reflect the effect of a 2-for-1 stock split effective May 21, 1993.
 -0- 4/29/93
 /CONTACT: Ruth Weber of NWNL, 612-372-5628/
 (NWN)


CO: The NWNL Companies ST: Minnesota IN: INS SU: ERN

KH -- MN012 -- 2850 04/29/93 16:33 EDT
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Date:Apr 29, 1993
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