Tags: Travelers | earnings | insurance | buyback

Travelers' Profit Tops Estimates, to Buy Back $5 Billion in Shares

Tuesday, 22 October 2013 07:30 AM

Travelers' third-quarter net income was flat as it benefited from low weather-related losses and better pricing.

The insurer's operating profit beat analysts' estimates. It also announced that its board approved the repurchase of an additional $5 billion of its common stock.

The stock climbed more than 3 percent in premarket trading on Tuesday.

For the three months ended Sept. 30, Travelers earned $864 million, or $2.30 per share. In the 2012 third quarter, it earned $864 million, or $2.21 per share.

The per-share discrepancy is due to fewer shares outstanding this year.

Operating income, which strips out investment gains and losses, increased to $883 million, or $2.35 per share, from $867 million, or $2.22 per share, last year.

Analysts, on average, forecast an operating profit of $2.07 per share, according to FactSet.

Revenue for the New York company dipped 1 percent to $6.45 billion from $6.51 billion. But the performance met Wall Street's expectations.

Net written premiums — the industry term for new policy sales — rose slightly to $5.71 billion from $5.7 billion.

Its combined ratio declined to 88.9 percent from 90.3 percent. A ratio above 100 means that for every premium dollar taken in, more than a dollar went for losses, expenses, and commissions. A figure below 100 indicates an underwriting profit.

Travelers said that the board approval for $5 billion in stock buybacks is in addition to the $759 million remaining from prior authorizations at the quarter's end. The board also declared a quarterly dividend of 50 cents per share. The dividend will be paid on Dec. 31 to shareholders of record on Dec. 10.

Shares of Travelers Cos. rose $1.73, or 2 percent, to $88.48 before the market open. The stock closed Monday at $86.76, up 21 percent since the start of the year.

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Travelers Cos. Inc. reported a third-quarter profit that beat analysts' estimates, and the U.S. insurer announced a $5 billion buyback program, sending its shares up 3 percent in trading before the bell.
Tuesday, 22 October 2013 07:30 AM
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