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ORION CAPITAL PER-SHARE OPERATING RESULTS FOR 1992'S FOURTH QUARTER INCREASED 25 PERCENT BEFORE ONE-TIME ITEMS

 NEW YORK, Feb. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- Orion Capital Corporation (NYSE: OC) announced today operating earnings for 1992's fourth quarter of $12,574,000, or $1.14 per share on 10,119,000 weighted average primary common shares outstanding. For the fourth quarter of 1991, operating earnings were $17,871,000, or $2.01 per share based upon 8,000,000 weighted average primary common shares outstanding. Earnings for the 1991 quarter were impacted by two one-time items, the gain on the sale of approximately half of Guaranty National Corporation and an increase in the company's loss and loss adjustment expense reserves to reflect the results of an independent actuarial study. These items combined to increase operating earnings by $8,816,000, or $1.10 per share, in the 1991 quarter. Excluding these one-time items, operating earnings rose from $9,055,000, or $.91 per share, in the fourth quarter of 1991, to the level achieved in 1992, representing an increase of approximately 39 percent on a full-dollar basis and 25 percent on a per- share basis.
 After-tax investment losses were $226,000, or $.02 per share, in the fourth quarter of 1992, versus $1,675,000, or $.21 per share, in the corresponding quarter of 1991. During the fourth quarter of 1992, the company incurred an extraordinary charge of $2,814,000, or $.28 per share, relating to the redemption prior to maturity of all of the company's 13-1/2 percent senior subordinated debentures and 12-1/2 percent subordinated debentures. Net income for the fourth quarter was $9,534,000, or $.84 per share, in 1992, and $16,196,000, or $1.80 per share, in 1991 (including the one-time items).
 For the year ended Dec. 31, 1992, operating earnings were $42,679,000, or $4.16 per share based upon 8,732,000 weighted average primary common shares outstanding. Operating earnings for the 1991 year were $46,472,000, or $4.92 per share based upon 7,971,000 weighted average primary common shares outstanding. Investment gains after taxes were $3,113,000, or $.36 per share, in 1992, versus losses of $1,804,000, or $.23 per share, in 1991. For the full year, losses from the early extinguishment of debt amounted to $2,920,000, or $.34 per share, in 1992. Net earnings for 1992 were $42,872,000, or $4.18 per share, compared with $44,668,000, or $4.69 per share, for 1991.
 On a fully-diluted basis, operating earnings for the fourth quarters of 1992 and 1991 were $1.04 per share and $1.55 per share, on 11,735,000 and 11,264,000 fully-diluted shares, respectively. The one-time items increased 1991's operating earnings by $.78 per share on a fully-diluted basis. After-tax investment losses per fully-diluted share amounted to $.02 and $.15, respectively. The loss on early extinguishment of debt amounted to $.24 per fully-diluted share in 1992, and net earnings were $.78 per share and $1.40 per share in the last quarters of 1992 and 1991, respectively.
 For the year, fully-diluted operating earnings amounted to $3.55 per share and $3.98 per share, on 11,579,000 and 11,268,000 shares, for 1992 and 1991, respectively. After-tax investment gains per fully-diluted share amounted to $.27 for the year ended Dec. 31, 1992, versus after- tax investment losses of $.16 for the year ended Dec. 31, 1991. After reflecting the losses from early extinguishment of debt of $.25 per share in 1992, fully-diluted net earnings were $3.57 per share and $3.82 per share in 1992 and 1991, respectively.
 The combined ratio after policyholders' dividends, computed on a generally accepted accounting principles basis, was 104.8 percent for the fourth quarter of 1992. For the full year, the company experienced a combined ratio of 105.4 percent, beating the industry's projected result by about ten percentage points. The policyholders' surplus of Orion Capital Companies amounted to $385,803,000 at Dec. 31, 1992, up $85,706,000 from the $300,097,000 of policyholders' surplus at Dec. 31, 1991. The company's operating leverage ratio (net premiums written to policyholders' surplus) at year-end 1992 was a conservative 1.47:1.
 Net written premiums for the fourth quarter and full year were $152,598,000 and $567,430,000 in 1992, respectively, compared with $152,350,000 and $734,065,000, respectively, in 1991. Total revenues decreased to $167,906,000 and $647,718,000 in the 1992 last quarter and year, respectively, from $209,267,000 and $837,294,000 in 1991, respectively. Net investment income was $21,480,000 in the final quarter of 1992, compared with $24,866,000 in the same quarter of 1991. For the year ended Dec. 31, 1992, net investment income was $82,483,000, as compared with $100,206,000 for 1991.
 For the 1991 year, Guaranty National's operations have been included in with those of the company on a fully-consolidated basis through Nov. 20, 1991, the date of the sale. This increased the company's net premiums written, net investment income and total revenues by $29,063,000, $3,185,000 and $34,174,000, respectively, in the fourth quarter of 1991, and by $181,226,000, $23,060,000 and $205,167,000, respectively, for the full 1991 year. For the fourth quarter and full year of 1992, excluding such amounts (and, with respect to total revenues, excluding the gain realized on the Guaranty National sale in the fourth quarter of 1991 of $33,931,000), the company's net premiums written increased 23.8 percent and 2.6 percent, respectively, net investment income decreased .9 percent and increased 6.9 percent, respectively, and total revenues increased 18.9 percent and 8.3 percent, respectively.
 For the fourth quarter of 1992, cash flow from operations was $11,510,000, compared with $44,299,000 in the fourth quarter of 1991 (excluding the proceeds from the Guaranty National sale). Operating cash flow was $80,533,000 in 1992, and $139,904,000 in 1991. Included in operating cash flow for the fourth quarter and full year of 1991 is $2,982,000 and $17,048,000, respectively, of cash flow relating to the operations of Guaranty National. Cash flow in 1992's fourth quarter and full year was impacted primarily by the timing of reinsurance payments.
 Shareholders' equity increased 24.6 percent on a full-dollar basis and 13.1 percent on a per share basis, to $311,287,000 at Dec. 31, 1992, or $26.85 per share on 10,480,000 common shares outstanding, from $249,829,000, or $23.74 per share on 7,924,000 common shares outstanding, at Dec. 31, 1991.
 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 on Nov. 20, 1992.
 At Dec. 31, 1992, the 6,143,000 shares of Guaranty National common stock held by the company were carried at $64,436,000, or $10.49 per Guaranty National common share, using the equity method of accounting. The year-end closing market price of Guaranty National on the New York Stock Exchange was $19.75 per share, representing an unrealized pre-tax gain of approximately $56,896,000, which is not included in the stockholders' equity of the company at that date.
 Tax benefits generated from amortization of the "fresh start" adjustment available to the company under the Tax Reform Act of 1986 were $316,000 and $489,000, or $.03 and $.06 per primary common share, and $.03 and $.04 per fully-diluted share, for the fourth quarter of 1992 and 1991, respectively.
 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
 (000s omitted)(A)
 Periods ended Three Months Year
 Dec. 31 1992 1991 1992 1991
 Revenues $167,906 $209,267 $647,718 $837,294
 Operating earnings 12,574 17,871 42,679 46,472
 After-tax investment
 gains (losses) (226) (1,675) 3,113 (1,804)
 Extraordinary item -
 loss on early
 extinguishment of debt (2,814) -- (2,920) --
 Net earnings $ 9,534 $ 16,196 $ 42,872 $ 44,668
 Per primary common share:
 Operating earnings $1.14 $2.01 $4.16 $4.92
 After-tax investment
 gains (losses) (.02) (.21) .36 (.23)
 Extraordinary item -
 loss on early
 extinguishment of debt (.28) -- (.34) --
 Net earnings $ .84 $1.80 $4.18 $4.69
 Weighted average common
 shares outstanding 10,119 8,000 8,732 7,971
 Per fully-diluted common share:
 Operating earnings $1.04 $1.55 $3.55 $3.98
 After-tax investment gains
 (losses) (.02) (.15) .27 (.16)
 Extraordinary item - loss
 on early extinguishment
 of debt (.24) -- (.25) --
 Net earnings $ .78 $1.40 $3.57 $3.82
 Weighted average common
 shares outstanding 11,735 11,264 11,579 11,268
 Balance sheet data:
 Shareholders' equity
 at Dec. 31 $311,287 $249,829
 Book value per common
 share at Dec. 31 $26.85 $23.74
 Common shares outstanding
 at Dec. 31 10,480 7,924
 (A) -- Except per share data.
 NOTE: All per share figures have been adjusted for the 5-for-4 stock split of the company's common stock on Nov. 20, 1992.
 -0- 2/24/93
 /CONTACT: Vincent T. Papa of Orion Capital, 212-332-8080; or Robert D. Siegfried of Kekst and Company, 212-593-2655, for Orion Capital/
 (OC)


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

GK-OS -- NY010 -- 9827 02/24/93 10:42 EST
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Date:Feb 24, 1993
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