Stewart Announces 2000 Fourth Quarter and Year-End Results

Subscribe to RSS Feed
• What is RSS?

HOUSTON (February 13, 2001) - Stewart Information Services Corporation (NYSE-STC) today reported results for the fourth quarter and year-end 2000.

For the fourth quarter of 2000, Stewart earned $0.3 million, or $.02 per diluted share, compared to earnings of $1.0 million, or $.07 per diluted share, for the fourth quarter of 1999.

Revenues increased 1.0 percent to $264 million. Revenues for the year 2000 were $935 million, a 12.7 percent decrease from 1999. Net earnings for the year 2000 were $0.6 million, or $.04 per diluted share, as compared with earnings of $28.4 million, or $1.95 per diluted share, for 1999.

The fourth quarter of 2000 included unusual items for provision for regulatory actions brought against the company and losses from certain start-up operations causing net reductions in income after taxes of $1.4 million, or $.09 per diluted share. For the year 2000 as a whole, these items reduced net earnings by $4.7 million, or $.31 per diluted share. For the year 1999, similar start-up operations reduced net earnings by $1.4 million, or $.09 per diluted share. There were no similar items of any significance in the fourth quarter of 1999.

“As a result of soft market conditions from a slowing economy, year-over-year higher interest rates and simultaneous expenditures to grow the base of the company for more profitable operations in the future, operating results were roughly a breakeven situation in 2000,” said Malcolm Morris, chairman of the board and co-chief executive officer. “Although we made sizeable reductions in staff in existing operations this past year, our staffing numbers remained flat due to new acquisitions and growth in the commercial and technology areas. Committed to growing future shareholder wealth, we made the necessary decision in 2000 to close several operations that failed to meet our expectations.

“Ongoing industry consolidation, when coupled with our stellar balance sheet, allowed us to position ourselves to grow significantly in the higher-profit commercial lines of business. To accomplish this, Stewart has expanded offices and personnel in National Title Services-our group serving the national commercial and residential markets. We are excited about the talented associates in this segment and the growth they have already delivered to the company. Stewart Title Guaranty Company, our lead underwriter, received the industry’s largest single company Commercial Capacity Rating by LACE Title Rating Corporation, which strengthens our ability for ongoing expansion.”

“As a 108-year old company, Stewart possesses a long tradition of growth, quality and industry-leading technology,” said Stewart Morris, Jr., president and co-chief executive officer. “We have a mix of bricks and clicks, that in today’s complex old and new economy business environment, serves all facets of the market. Our new transaction management platform, start2close™, is currently undergoing initial field tests and will become a major component in servicing our customers.

“A number of adjustments in staffing within our Real Estate Information group will reduce our expenses going into 2001. This will position this group to contribute to our profit and growth this year. We have invested in e-commerce with RealEC and transaction coordination with start2close.com, as well as electronic production systems in AIM for Windows, Online Docs and Floodwaves. This will yield finer connectivity to our clients and higher productivity within our company.”

As interest rates declined in the fourth quarter of 2000, order counts rose 9 percent from the same period last year - good news for work in progress at the start of 2001. December’s order counts, driven by a growing refinance segment, jumped 21 percent from last year. Unfortunately, December’s severe weather temporarily delayed a portion of closings to 2001.

The outlook for favorable lower interest rates bodes well going in to 2001, with industry experts predicting an increase of more than 39 percent in total residential lending when compared to 2000. A slowing economy could buffer those gains somewhat in real estate sales and construction activity. Proposed tax cuts and interest rate reductions by the federal government are expected to be positive moves for the economy.

Stewart Information Services Corporation is a technology driven, strategically competitive, global real estate information company. Stewart provides title insurance and related services through more than 5,300 issuing locations in the United States and several international markets. A leading provider of real estate information technology and connectivity, Stewart meets the needs of the real estate and mortgage industries through the electronic delivery of services needed for settlement. These services include title insurance, title information, flood determinations, property appraisals, document preparation, credit reports and other real estate information. In addition, Stewart provides expertise in tax-deferred exchanges, surveys and field services. More information about Stewart can be found at www.stewart.com.

###

Stewart Information Services Corporation

 

 Three months ended

    Year ended

 

    December 31

    December 31

 

 2000        1999

  2000        1999

Revenues

Title premiums, fees and other revenues...

 244,280

  242,356

 861,185

  991,649

Real estate information services..........

  13,217

   13,216

  52,463

   59,039

Investment income.........................

   5,808

    5,114

  21,814

   20,300

Investment gains- net.....................

     303

      216

      23

      266

 

 263,608      

  260,902

 935,485

1,071,254

 

 

 

 

 

Expenses

Amounts retained by agents................

 120,990

  125,619

 401,761

  504,201

Employee costs............................

  75,068

   67,580

 292,276

  283,073

Other operating expenses..................

  48,025

   46,077

 173,038

  168,975

Title losses..............................

  11,552

   13,064

  38,999

   44,187

Depreciation and amortization.............

   5,150

    4,907

  20,951

   18,068

Interest..................................

     902

      388

   2,266

    1,298

Minority interests........................

   1,262

    1,084

   5,048

    4,887

 

 

 

 

 

 

Earnings before taxes.....................

     659

    2,183

   1,146

   46,565

Income taxes..............................

     331

    1,185

     540

   18,143

     Net earnings.........................

     328 

      998

     606 

   28,422

 

Average number diluted shares(000)........

  15,176

   14,747

  14,980

   14,606

 

Earnings per share – diluted..............

              .02

   

      .07

   

     .04

 

     1.95   

 

Segment information:

  Title revenues..........................

 250,391

  247,686

 883,022

1,012,215

  Title pretax earnings...................

   1,199 

    2,064

   5,591  

   43,615

 

  REI revenues............................

  13,217

   13,216

  52,463 

  59,039

  REI pretax earnings (loss)..............

    (540)

      119

  (4,445)

   2,950

 

Selected financial information (000):

  Premiums earned from agents.............

 146,741

  156,141

 494,614

 623,317

  Title loss payments – net...............

   6,205

    8,796

  32,338

  32,628

  Change in unrealized investment gains

    (losses) – net of taxes...............

 

   3,447

 

   (2,450)

 

   5,544

 

  (9,785)

  Average number basic shares.............

  15,049

   14,648

  14,874

  14,481

  Number of title orders opened...........

    95.5

     87.7

   408.7

   423.7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

STEWART INFORMATION SERVICES CORPORATION
BALANCE SHEETS (condensed)
(In thousands of dollars)

 

 

 December 31

December 31

 

    2000  

   1999 

                                                      

Assets

  Cash and cash equivalents........................

   35,728

  36,803

  Short-term investments...........................

   57,994


click here to view 2014 news releases
click here to view 2013 archived news releases
click here to view 2012 archived news releases
click here to view 2011 archived news releases
click here to view 2010 archived news releases
click here to view 2009 archived news releases
click here to view 2008 archived news releases
click here to view 2007 archived news releases
click here to view 2006 archived news releases
click here to view 2005 archived news releases
click here to view 2004 archived news releases
click here to view 2003 archived news releases
click here to view 2002 archived news releases
click here to view 2001 archived news releases
click here to view 2000 archived news releases