UPDATE 2-PartnerRe Q4 operating profit beats Wall Street

martes 5 de febrero de 2008 00:39 CET

(Recasts; adds analyst's comments, background)

By Sweta Singh

BANGALORE Feb 4 (Reuters) - Bermuda-based reinsurer PartnerRe Ltd's PRE.N quarterly operating profit handily beat Wall Street's view, even as it took losses related to the write-down of its investment in a reinsurer formed solely to do business with hard-hit bond insurer MBIA Inc (MBI.N: Cotización).

The beat was driven by a combination of the release of cash reserves, good underwriting and a little bit of luck considering the weather was good during the quarter, Clifford Gallant of Keefe Bruyette & Woods said by phone.

Operating income, which excluded net realized gains and losses, rose to $257.4 million, or $4.55 a share, during the fourth quarter, from $210.1 million, or $3.61 a share, a year ago.

Analysts expected the company to earn $3.20 a share, excluding items, according to Reuters Estimates.

Net premiums earned for the fourth quarter fell about 12 million to $989.8 million, while net investment income increased about $12 million to $137.8 million.

On a GAAP basis, PartnerRe reported fourth-quarter net income of $180.6 million, or $3.04 a share, down from $242.7 million, or $4.03 a share, a year ago.

In January, another reinsurer RenaissanceRe Holdings Ltd (RNR.N: Cotización) and PartnerRe said they will write off 3-year-old investments in Channel Re, a reinsurer formed solely to do business with MBIA.   Continuación...