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MARKEL CORPORATION ANNOUNCES RECORD EARNINGS

 RICHMOND, Va., Feb. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Markel Corporation (NASDAQ-NMS: MAKL) announced record earnings of $4.64 per primary share for the year ended Dec. 31, 1992.
 "We are extremely pleased to report an underwriting profit for the year, especially in consideration of the competitive conditions in the insurance market," commented Alan I. Kirshner, chairman and chief executive officer.
 For the fourth quarter, net income increased to $3.7 million, or 67 cents per primary share, from $.5 million, or 9 cents per primary share, in 1991. Net income for the year increased 78 percent to $25.6 million, or $4.64 per primary share, from $14.4 million, or $2.68 per primary share, in 1991. Net income for the year included a $13.8 million, or $2.50 per primary share, net gain from the sale of the company's Governmental Programs Division. The impact of the gain was offset by a $3.3 million, or 60 cents per primary share, after- tax provision recorded in the first quarter for the relocation of the company's Markel/Rhulen Underwriters Division from Monticello, N.Y., to corporate headquarters in Richmond. Included in 1991 net income was $1.5 million, or 28 cents per primary share, from the sale of the nurses' professional liability program.
 For the year, the company reported an underwriting combined ratio of 97 percent, compared to 106 percent in 1991. The improvement was the result of lower loss experience from the elimination of a specialty motorcycle program, as well as a companywide focus on expense reduction and control. Total operating revenues were $205.8 million in 1992, compared to $222.6 million in 1991. The 8 percent decline resulted from lower commission income following the sale of the Governmental Programs Division, as well as lower net investment income due principally to lower interest rates. The effective tax rate for 1992 was 35 percent of income before income taxes, compared to 19 percent in 1991. The increase was due both to tax expense related to the sale of the Governmental Programs Division, as well as non-recurring permanent differences in the prior year.
 In the fourth quarter, the company increased its borrowings to take advantage of the rates and terms offered by a credit facility, which converted to a seven year term loan at Dec. 31, 1992. The funds will be held primarily for general corporate purposes. Accordingly, long-term debt increased to $100.6 million at Dec. 31, 1992, from $66.8 million at Sept. 30, 1992, and $94.0 million at Dec. 31, 1991.
 Book value per common share increased to $20.24 at Dec. 31, 1992, from $15.59 at Dec. 31, 1991. The increase was primarily attributable to net income for the year.
 Following is a comparison of 1992 and 1991 quarterly and year-to-date results on a per share basis (net of taxes):
 Quarter Ended 12 Months Ended
 Dec. 31, Dec. 31,
 1992 1991 1992 1991
 Primary earnings per share:
 Operations $0.50 $(0.10) $ 1.85 $ 1.07
 Realized gain $0.17 $ 0.19 $ 0.89 $ 0.94
 Gain on the sale of
 brokerage programs $ -- $ -- $ 2.50 $ 0.28
 Relocation costs $ -- $ -- $(0.60) $ --
 Tax impact of non-recurring
 permanent differences $ -- $ -- $ -- $ 0.39
 Net Income $ 0.67 $ 0.09 $4.64 $ 2.68
 Markel Corporation markets and underwrites specialty insurance products and programs to a variety of niche markets. In each of these markets, the company seeks to provide quality products and excellent customer service so that it can be a market leader. The financial goals of the company are to earn consistent underwriting profits and superior investment returns to build shareholder value.
 MARKEL CORPORATION AND SUBSIDIARIES
 Consolidated Statements of Income
 Unaudited
 (dollars in thousands, except per share data)
 Quarter Ended 12 Months Ended
 Dec. 31, Dec. 31,
 1992 1991 1992 1991
 Operating revenues:
 Earned premiums $43,680 $35,417 $153,418 $151,942
 Commissions 2,650 5,977 16,180 29,396
 Net investment income 6,749 6,789 27,069 31,007
 Net realized gains
 (losses) from sales
 of investments 1,476 1,622 7,463 7,590
 Other 751 361 1,655 2,651
 Total operating
 revenues 55,306 50,166 205,785 222,586
 Operating expenses:
 Losses and loss
 adjustment expenses 31,588 23,386 102,753 101,117
 Policy acquisition
 and other insurance
 expenses 8,465 14,898 45,668 58,986
 General, administrative
 and other 6,259 6,906 21,873 26,792
 Relocation costs -- -- 5,000 --
 Total operating
 expenses 46,312 45,190 175,294 186,895
 Operating income 8,994 4,976 30,491 35,691
 Other income (expenses):
 Gain on sale of
 brokerage programs -- -- 23,271 2,400
 Amortization of
 intangible assets (2,919) (2,041) (8,850) (8,869)
 Interest (1,203) (2,330) (5,291) (11,489)
 Total other income
 (expenses) (4,122) (4,371) 9,130 (17,958)
 Income before income
 taxes 4,872 605 39,621 17,733
 Income taxes 1,135 114 14,028 3,338
 Net income $3,737 $491 $25,593 $14,395
 Earnings per share:
 Primary $0.67 $0.09 $4.64 $2.68
 Fully diluted $0.67 $0.09 $4.54 $2.61
 -0- 2/16/93
 /CONTACT: Darrell D. Martin of Markel Corporation, 804-965-1635/
 (MAKL)


CO: Markel Corporation ST: Virginia IN: INS SU: ERN

KD -- DC022 -- 6998 02/16/93 17:31 EST
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Date:Feb 16, 1993
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