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ORION CAPITAL CORPORATION REPORTS OPERATING EARNINGS GAINS FOR THE THIRD QUARTER OF 1993; PER-SHARE RESULTS ADJUSTED FOR 5-FOR-4 SPLIT

 NEW YORK, Oct. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Orion Capital Corporation (NYSE: OC) announced today that operating earnings after taxes increased 28.4 percent, to $12,151,000, or $.83 per fully diluted share, for the three months ended Sept. 30, 1993, compared with $9,465,000, or $.62 per share, in the third quarter of 1992. On a pre-tax basis, operating earnings rose 54.6 percent, to $15,881,000 in the third quarter of 1993, from $10,271,000 in 1992's third quarter.
 On Sept. 10, 1993, the company announced a 5-for-4 split of its common stock, payable on Nov. 15, 1993, to holders of record on Oct. 15, 1993. All per-share figures presented herein have been reduced to reflect the increased number of shares that will be outstanding following the stock split. Per-share figures for the 1992 period have also been restated to reflect the company's 5-for-4 common stock split declared in 1992 to holders of record on Nov. 20 of that year.
 After-tax realized investment gains amounted to $717,000, or $.05 per share, in the third quarter of 1993, versus $3,359,000, or $.23 per share in the same quarter of 1992. Net earnings for the three months ended Sept. 30, 1993, increased to $12,868,000, or $.88 per share. For the third quarter of 1992, net earnings were $12,718,000, or $.84 per share, including an extraordinary charge of $106,000, or $.01 per share, relating to the early extinguishment of debt.
 Pre-tax operating earnings increased to $45,513,000 for the nine months ended Sept. 30, 1993, versus $32,087,000 for the same period in 1992. After taxes, operating earnings amounted to $36,555,000, or $2.46 per share, for the nine months ended Sept. 30, 1993, compared with $30,105,000, or $2.01 per share, for the first nine months of 1992.
 After-tax realized investment gains for the first nine months of 1993 and 1992 amounted to $4,548,000, or $.31 per share, and $3,339,000, or $.23 per share, respectively. The company recorded one-time net benefits of $11,825,000, or $.81 per share, relating to the cumulative effect of adopting two new accounting standards on Jan. 1, 1993. The extraordinary charge from the early extinguishment of debt reduced 1992's nine-month results by $106,000, or $.01 per share. Including realized investment gains and losses, as well as the effects of accounting changes and the extraordinary charge, net earnings amounted to $52,928,000, or $3.58 per share, and $33,338,000, or $2.23 per share, for the first nine months of 1993 and 1992, respectively.
 All per-share amounts presented above have been computed using fully diluted weighted average common shares outstanding, which were 14,689,000 and 14,601,000 in the third quarters of 1993 and 1992, respectively, and 14,688,000 and 14,393,000 for the nine-month periods, respectively.
 The company called all of its shares of convertible preferred stock in the fourth quarter of 1992 and the first quarter of 1993. As a result of such calls, holders of most of the preferred shares opted to convert their holdings into shares of the company's common stock.
 The marked increase in the number of common shares outstanding caused by the conversions materially affected the comparability of per- share earnings computed on a primary basis. Such was not the case for per-share earnings computed on a fully diluted basis, since that method assumes that all shares of convertible preferred stock were converted as of Jan. 1, 1992. Consequently, the comparability of 1992's fully diluted earnings per share to those presented in the 1993 period was not materially affected by the preferred stock conversions.
 On a primary basis, for the third quarters of 1993 and 1992, operating earnings were $.83 per share and $.72 per share, on 14,685,000 and 10,563,000 weighted average primary common shares outstanding, respectively. Realized investment gains for the same periods were $.05 per share and $.32 per share, respectively, and per-share net earnings were $.88 and $1.03, respectively.
 For the first nine months of 1993 and 1992, operating earnings were $2.48 per primary share and $2.40 per primary share, on 14,603,000 and 10,333,000 weighted average primary common shares outstanding, respectively. The adoption of the new accounting standards resulted in a net cumulative effect of $.81 per primary common share in the first nine months of 1993. Year-to-date realized investment gains were $.31 per share in the 1993 period and $.32 per share for 1992, with per-share net earnings amounting to $3.60 and $2.71 on a primary basis for the nine months ended Sept. 30, 1993 and 1992, respectively. The extraordinary charge relating to the early extinguishment of debt in 1992 affected both the third quarter and nine month results for that year by $.01 per share.
 The company's combined ratio after policyholders' dividends, computed on a generally accepted accounting principles basis, was 102.7 percent and 103.1 percent for the third quarter and first nine months of 1993, respectively. The combined ratios for the third quarter and first nine months of 1992 were 106.1 percent and 105.6 percent, respectively.
 Net written premiums rose approximately 9 percent, to $155,065,000 for the third quarter of 1993, from $142,592,000 in 1992's third quarter. For the nine months ended Sept. 30, 1993, net written premiums amounted to $476,230,000, which compares to $414,832,000 for the same period in 1992. The rise in net written premiums for the year is attributable mainly to increased premium writings in the company's Connecticut Specialty Insurance Group and DPIC Companies units. Total revenues were $175,418,000 and $159,461,000 for the three months ended Sept. 30, 1993 and 1992, respectively, and $532,275,000 and $479,812,000 for the nine months ended Sept. 30, 1993 and 1992, respectively.
 The policyholders' surplus of Orion Capital Companies amounted to $493,662,000 at Sept. 30, 1993, up $138,986,000 from the $354,676,000 of policyholders' surplus at Sept. 30, 1992, and up $107,859,000 from the year-end 1992 level of $385,803,000. Approximately $21,800,000 of the increase in surplus during 1993 relates to the company's elimination of a statutory valuation allowance related to its ownership of Guaranty National Corporation common stock. The company's operating leverage ratio (net premiums written to policyholders' surplus) at Sept. 30, 1993, was a conservative 1.28:1.
 Net investment income rose 7.7 percent, to $22,218,000 in the third quarter of 1993, from $20,630,000 in the same quarter of 1992. Year-to- date net investment income was $65,065,000 and $61,003,000 for 1993 and 1992, respectively. The rise in net investment income resulted from a strong increase in operating cash flow, which more than offset the impact of the general decline in interest rates. Cash flow from operations increased to $112,376,000 for the first nine months of 1993 from $69,023,000 in the same period of 1992. Included in operating cash flow for 1993 is $17,096,000 relating to a one-time receipt of deposit funds under a spread-loss program written by DPIC Companies.
 The company's interest in the earnings of Guaranty National Corporation, recorded on an "equity accounting" basis, amounted to $2,805,000 and $2,110,000 for the third quarter of 1993 and 1992, respectively, and $8,452,000 and $7,452,000 for the respective nine- month periods.
 Book value per share grew approximately 12 percent during the first nine months of 1993, to $25.56 at Sept. 30, 1993, on 14,533,000 common shares outstanding, up from $21.48 on 13,100,000 common shares outstanding at the end of 1992. Shareholders' equity totaled $371,485,000 at Sept. 30, 1993, compared with $301,559,000 at Sept. 30, 1992 and $311,287,000 at the end of last year.
 Not included in stockholders' equity is approximately $70,101,000 of unrealized pre-tax gain at Sept. 30, 1993, relating to the 6,143,000 shares of Guaranty National common stock held by the company which were carried at $72,733,000, or $11.84 per Guaranty National common share, using the equity method of accounting. The third-quarter closing price of Guaranty National on the New York Stock Exchange was $23.25 per share.
 Orion Capital is engaged in the specialty property and casualty insurance business through various wholly owned insurance subsidiaries, and through its 49.3 percent ownership interest in Guaranty National Corporation.
 ORION CAPITAL CORPORATION
 (Unaudited; 000s omitted, except per-share data)
 Periods ended Three Months Nine Months
 Sept. 30 1993 1992 1993 1992
 Income Statement Data
 Revenues $175,418 $159,461 $532,275 $479,812
 Operating earnings 12,151 9,465 36,555 30,105
 After-tax, investment gains 717 3,359 4,548 3,339
 Cumulative effect of
 accounting changes -- -- 11,825 --
 Extraordinary loss -- (106) -- (106)
 Net earnings 12,868 12,718 52,928 33,338
 Per primary common share:
 Operating earnings $.83 $.72 $2.48 $2.40
 After-tax investment gains .05 .32 .31 .32
 Cumulative effect of
 accounting changes -- -- .81 --
 Extraordinary loss -- (.01) -- (.01)
 Net earnings .88 1.03 3.60 2.71
 Weighted average common shares
 outstanding 14,685 10,563 14,603 10,333
 Per fully diluted common share:
 Operating earnings $.83 $.62 $2.46 $2.01
 After-tax investment gains .05 .23 .31 .23
 Cumulative effect of
 accounting changes -- -- .81 --
 Extraordinary loss -- (.01) -- (.01)
 Net earnings .88 .84 3.58 2.23
 Weighted average common shares
 outstanding 14,689 14,601 14,688 14,393
 Balance Sheet Data
 Shareholders' equity at
 Sept. 30 $371,485 $301,559
 Book value per common
 share at Sept. 30 $25.56 $22.84
 Common shares outstanding
 at Sept. 30 14,533 10,527
 Note: Per-share figures and the number of outstanding shares have been adjusted for the 5-for-4 stock splits of the company's common stock payable to holders of record on Nov. 20, 1992, and Oct. 15, 1993.
 -0- 10/28/93
 /CONTACT: Vincent T. Papa of Orion Capital, 212-332-8080, or Robert D. Siegfried or Leslie J. Uyeda of Kekst & Company, 212-593-2655/
 (OC)


CO: Orion Capital Corporation ST: New York IN: INS SU: ERN

CK-JS -- NY131 -- 8260 10/28/93 19:28 EDT
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Date:Oct 28, 1993
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