PartnerRe and Validus add to share buybacks – The Royal Gazette | Bermuda News, Business, Sports, Events, & Community

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PartnerRe and Validus add to share buybacks

Bermuda reinsurers' voracious appetite for repurchasing their own shares shows no sign of being sated.

Yesterday, Validus Holdings Ltd said it expected to buy back $238 million worth of its shares as the result of a tender offer, while PartnerRe Ltd said it had agreed to pay almost $100 million to an institutional investor for a batch of its own shares.

The buybacks have been popular as Bermuda companies seek to deploy surplus capital by returning it to shareholders.

Most are trading on the stock market at levels well below book value, making the buybacks an attractive proposition.

A report published last week by credit ratings agency AM Best found Bermuda market companies spent slightly more than half their net income on share repurchases during the first nine months of this year and some have sold long-term debt to fund it.

Earlier this week Aspen Insurance Holdings Ltd offered $250 million of ten-year notes to raise funds for general corporate purposes. Last month the company announced it had entered into a $184 million accelerated share repurchase programme.

In a statement released yesterday, Validus said its tender offer had expired at 5pm on Wednesday.

Based on the preliminary results, Validus expects to purchase 7.95 million common shares at a price of $30 per share for a total cost of $238.4 million.

Last month, Validus made separate share repurchase agreements with institutional investors Aquiline Capital Partners, New Mountain Capital and Vestar Capital Partners which, combined with the tender offer expected transactions would result in the company buying back 10 million shares for $300 million.

PartnerRe said it repurchased 1.28 million shares in a privately negotiated transaction with an institutional shareholder. The shares, totalling approximately 1.7 percent of total common shares outstanding as of September 30, 2010, were purchased at a price per share of $77.50.

The total value of the shares repurchased was $99.5 million. The repurchase was carried out under the company's current authorisation of up to seven million shares, which was approved by the board of directors in September 2010.

PartnerRe has repurchased 3.18 million common shares during the fourth quarter so far and has a further 3.5 million shares remaining under the current authorisation.

In its commentary on the Bermuda market, AM Best said: “These share repurchases should result in higher earnings per share, but it is debatable whether this will increase the market value of a company's common shares, even though most (re)insurance companies already are trading at what appear to be compelling values for long-term investors.”

PartnerRe shares rose 84 cents in New York Stock Exchange trading yesterday to close on $79.55. Validus fell 49 cents to $29.30, while Aspen gained two cents to close on $29.30.

Validus: Buying back more shares

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Published December 10, 2010 at 1:00 am (Updated December 11, 2010 at 7:42 am)

PartnerRe and Validus add to share buybacks

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