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Montpelier posts 5.8% quarterly rise in book value

Montpelier Re Holdings Ltd's book value per share rose nearly six percent during the first quarter as the Bermuda reinsurer benefited from a lack of catastrophe activity.

The company posted operating earnings of $72 million, or $1.48 per share, crushing the $1.01 estimate of analysts polled by Yahoo Finance.

Net income was $89.9 million, or $1.84 per common share, down slightly from the $92.2 million recorded in the first quarter of 2013. The company said net income included $23 million of realised and unrealised investment gains and $5 million of net foreign exchange losses.

Montpelier chief executive officer Christopher Harris said: “We had an excellent first quarter with underwriting, investments and capital management all contributing to book value per common share growth of 5.8 percent for the period. Each of our platforms delivered strong profitability as we continue to focus on executing our specialist underwriting approach.”

Net premiums written in the first quarter were up five percent in comparison to a year ago, primarily as a result of increased writings within the Montpelier at Lloyd's and Collateralised Reinsurance segments. Earned premiums were down two percent from a year ago.

Net investment income was $13 million for the quarter and the total return on the investment portfolio was 1.1 percent.

The combined ratio — the proportion of premium dollars spent on claims and expenses — was 50 percent, an improvement on the 62.4 percent achieved last year. The company benefited by $35 million on the release of prior-year loss reserves.

During the first quarter, Montpelier repurchased almost 2.5 million common shares at an average price of $28.22 per share. During the second quarter so far, the company said it has bought back another 571,000 shares, at an average price per share of $29.70.

As of March 31, 2014, shareholders' equity was $1.66 billion, and its total capital was $2.06 billion.

Fully converted book value per common share increased 5.8 percent for the quarter, to $31.01, computed after taking into account common share dividends declared.

Montpelier shares fell one cent to $30.58 in New York trading yesterday, before the earnings statement was released.

Montpelier Re CEO Chris Harris

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Published May 01, 2014 at 9:00 am (Updated April 30, 2014 at 9:18 pm)

Montpelier posts 5.8% quarterly rise in book value

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