ST. PAUL (AP) -- The St. Paul Cos. said Monday that leaving or reorienting some businesses and significantly reducing expenses enabled the insurer to reverse losses from a year earlier and report a profit in the fourth quarter.
The St. Paul earned $244.2 million, or $1.02 a share, in the quarter ended Dec. 31, compared with a loss of $736.0 million, or $3.57 a share, in the final quarter of 2001.
The fourth quarter of 2002 included $56.1 million in nonrecurring items, while the earlier quarter included $612 million in after-tax losses from one-time items, including charges for leaving the medical malpractice insurance business.
The St. Paul-based company reported fourth-quarter operating earnings of $194.4 million, or 81 cents a share, compared with an operating loss of $646.7 million, or $3.14 per share, a year earlier. That was 2 cents below the consensus estimate of analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call.
Total revenues dropped nearly 16 percent to $2.01 billion, from $2.38 billion.
"Our results demonstrate the progress we're making in repositioning the company to a more competitive enterprise," said Jay Fishman, chairman and chief executive officer. "We exited or reoriented certain businesses, clarified our strategic focus, significantly reduced expenses ... and delivered stronger results."
During the quarter, The St. Paul completed the transfer of its reinsurance operations to Platinum Underwriters Holdings Ltd., a new reinsurer based in Bermuda, and substantially completed refocusing its international operations.
After-tax losses due to catastrophic events totaled $7.5 million, or 3 cents a share, in the fourth quarter, well below the $85.2 million, or 41 cents a share, a year earlier.
Fourth-quarter written premiums from ongoing businesses increased 16 percent.
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