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Axis fourth-quarter profit falls to $135m

Albert Benchimol: CEO of Axis Capital

Insurance and reinsurance company Axis Capital Holdings yesterday posted profits of $135 million for the final quarter of last year.

The figure was down $29 million on the same time period in 2014.

For the full year, the firm made a profit of $602 million — $6.04 per share — down $169 million on the $771 million, or $7.29 per common share, reported for 2014.

The latest quarterly figures are equal to income per common share of $1.39 compared with $1.60 per share for the last quarter of 2014.

Operating income for the fourth quarter of last year totalled $120 million — $1.23 per common share — compared with the same figure, but $1.18 per share for the last quarter of the previous year. Axis beat the $1.13 per share forecast of analysts tracked by Yahoo Finance.

Albert Benchimol, president and CEO of Axis Capital, said the firm was pleased to report growth in diluted book value per share of 9 per cent, after adjustment for dividends.

He added: “While 2015 was a challenging year on many fronts, it was also a year of powerful maturation across our organisation, resulting in a stronger more focused Axis.

“Over the year we steered the company towards a future of enhanced profitability and stability.

“Importantly, we are executing on the right actions for the current challenging market conditions — improving the quality of our book of business, growing the scale and profitability of recent initiatives and tightening expense control and capital efficiency.

“Normalising for the unusual frequency of mid-sized energy losses this year, our results for the quarter and for the year demonstrated progress on all these fronts.”

Gross premiums written for the final quarter of last year were up 5 per cent, 6 per cent on a constant currency basis, to $800 million.

Estimated catastrophe and weather-related pre-tax net losses of $10 million were recorded for the last quarter — mostly related to US weather events — compared to $21 million for the same period last year.