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ORION CAPITAL CORPORATION REPORTS RESULTS FOR THE FIRST QUARTER OF 1993

 NEW YORK, May 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Orion Capital Corporation (NYSE: OC) announced today that net earnings amounted to $26,153,000, or $2.19 per share, for the first three months of 1993, versus $10,689,000, or $.92 per share, for the first quarter of 1992. Net earnings in the 1993 period includes $11,825,000, or $1.00 per share, of one-time net benefits relating to the cumulative effect of adopting two new accounting regulations. The adoption of Statement of Financial Accounting Standards ("SFAS") No. 106, "Employers Accounting for Postretirement Benefits Other Than Pensions," resulted in an after-tax charge of $5,056,000, or $.43 per share. That charge was more than offset by a credit relating to the adoption of SFAS No. 109, "Accounting for Income Taxes," of $16,881,000, or $1.43 per share.
 After-tax realized investment gains amounted to $2,674,000, or $.23 per share, in the first quarter of 1993, versus realized investment losses of $404,000, or $.03 per share in the same quarter of 1992. Excluding realized investment gains and losses and the cumulative effect of accounting changes, operating earnings rose 26 percent on a pre-tax basis to $14,115,000 in the first quarter of 1993, from $11,181,000 in 1992's first quarter. After taxes, operating income amounted to $11,654,000, or $.96 per share, for the first three months of 1993, compared with $11,093,000, or $.95 per share in 1992's first quarter.
 The explosion in New York's World Trade Center negatively impacted operating earnings for the first quarter of 1993 by $401,000, or $.03 per share, from the company's participation as a reinsurer in a small portion of the Port Authority's insurance program. Operating earnings were also negatively affected by $468,000, or $.04 per share, relating to an increase in non-cash expenses for certain deferred compensation benefits. The value of those benefits is based upon the market price of the company's common stock, which rose $8.625 per share in the first quarter of 1993, from $35.375 per share at Dec. 31, 1992 to $44.00 per share at March 31, 1993.
 All per share amounts presented above have been computed using fully diluted weighted average common shares outstanding of 11,751,000 and 11,251,000 in the first quarters of 1993 and 1992, respectively. The company called all of its convertible preferred stock in the fourth quarter of 1992 and the first quarter of 1993, with the result of such calls being the conversion of most of the preferred shares into shares of common stock. The marked increase in the number of common shares outstanding materially affected the comparability of per share earnings computed on a primary basis. On a fully-diluted basis, however, earnings per share were computed in 1992 as if all shares of convertible preferred stock were converted on Jan. 1, 1992. Consequently, comparability of 1992's fully-diluted earnings per share to those presented in the 1993 period was not materially affected.
 On a primary basis, net earnings per share were $2.23 per share and $1.11 per share, on 11,556,000 and 8,021,000 weighted average primary common shares outstanding, in the first quarters of 1993 and 1992, respectively. The cumulative effect relating to the adoption of SFAS No. 109 amounted to $1.02 per share in the 1993 period. Realized investment gains per share were $.23 for the first quarter of 1993, compared with realized investment losses per share of $.05 in 1992's first quarter. Per share operating earnings were $.98 on a primary basis for the first three months of 1993 and $1.16 in the same period of the prior year.
 The combined ratio after policyholders' dividends, computed on a generally accepted accounting principles basis, was 104.0 percent for the 1993 first quarter, versus 105.4 percent in 1992's first quarter.
 Net written premiums rose approximately 21 percent, to $160,293,000 for the first quarter of 1993, from $132,531,000 in 1992's first quarter. The rise was attributable mainly to increased premium writings in the company's Connecticut Specialty Insurance Group and DPIC Companies units. The policyholders' surplus of Orion Capital Companies amounted to $434,715,000 at March 31, 1993, up $115,143,000 from the $319,570,000 of policyholders' surplus at March 31, 1992, and up $48,912,000 from the year-end 1992 level of $385,803,000. The company's operating leverage ratio (net premiums written to policyholders' surplus) at March 31, 1993 was a convertible 1.48:1.
 Net investment income amounted to $21,677,000 and $20,702,000, and total revenues were $176,064,000 and $164,914,000, for the first three months of 1993 and 1992, respectively. Cash flow from operations increased to $51,213,000 for the first quarter of 1993, from $7,267,000 in the 1992 quarter. Included in operating cash flow for the 1993 period 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 $3,060,000 and $2,664,000, pre-tax, for the first quarters of 1993 and 1992, respectively.
 Book value per share grew approximately 10.2 percent during the first quarter of 1993, to $29.58 at March 31, 1993 on 11,626,000 common shares outstanding, up from $26.85 on 10,480,000 common shares outstanding at the end of 1992. Shareholders' equity totalled $343,876,000 at March 31, 1993, compared with $266,817,000 at March 31, 1992 and $311,287,000 at the end of last year.
 At March 31, 1993, the 6,143,000 shares of Guaranty National common stock held by the company were carried at $68,484,000, or $11.15 per Guaranty National common share, using the equity method of accounting. The first-quarter closing price of Guaranty National on the New York Stock Exchange was $23.375 per share, representing an unrealized pre-tax gain of approximately $75,118,000, which is not included in stockholders' equity of the company at that date.
 Per share amounts and the number of shares outstanding have been restated for all periods to reflect the company's 5-for-4 common stock split as of Nov. 20, 1992.
 Tax benefits generated from amortization of the "fresh start" adjustment available to the company under the Tax Reform Act of 1986 were $316,000, or $.04 per primary share and $.03 per fully diluted share, for the first quarter of 1992. Operating earnings were not affected by "fresh start" tax benefits in the 1993 tax period.
 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
 Income Statement Data
 (000s omitted(A))
 Three months ended March 31 1993 1992
 Revenues $176,064 $164,914
 Operating earnings 11,654 11,093
 After-tax investment gains (losses) 2,674 (404)
 Cumulative effect of accounting changes 11,825 --
 Net earnings 26,133 10,689
 Per Primary Common Share:
 Operating earnings .98 1.16
 After-tax investment gains (losses) .23 (.05)
 Cumulative effect of accounting changes 1.02 --
 Net earnings 2.23 1.11
 Weighted average common shares
 outstanding 11,556 8,021
 Per fully diluted common share:
 Operating earnings .96 .95
 After-tax investment gains (losses) .23 (.03)
 Cumulative effect of accounting changes 1.00 --
 Net earnings 2.19 .92
 Weighted average common shares
 outstanding 11,751 11,251
 BALANCE SHEET
 Shareholders' equity at March 31, $343,876 $266,817
 Book value per common share at
 March 31, 29.58 25.87
 Common shares outstanding at March 31, 11,626 7,941
 (A) Except per share data.
 NOTE: Per share figures for the 1992 period have been adjusted for the 5-for-4 stock split of the company's common stock on Nov. 20, 1992.
 -0- 5/5/93
 /CONTACT: Vincent T. Papa of Orion Capital Corporation, 212-332-8080, or Robert D. Siegfried, or Leslie J. Uyeda of Kekst & Company, 212-593-2655, for Orion Capital Corporation/
 (OC)


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

LD-OS -- NY079 -- 5075 05/05/93 17:23 EDT
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Date:May 5, 1993
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