Stewart Information 4Q Earnings Higher

February 20, 2007

Associated Press

HOUSTON (AP) -- Stewart Information Services Corp., which provides title insurance and related information services, said Friday its fourth-quarter profit rose 18 percent, as the company set aside less money to cover potential losses in its title business.

Quarterly earnings increased to $10.7 million, or 59 cents per share, from $9.1 million, or 50 cents per share during the same period in 2005. Revenue grew 3 percent to $645.8 million from $629.1.

The company said its earnings reflect the addition of $4.3 million to title loss reserves, or $6.2 million less than the same period a year earlier. That move offset a higher complement of lower-margin agency business compared to direct operations.

Stewart Information Services said its revenue boost came from greater commercial transactions and income from new agencies, which partially offset a decline in its direct operations as higher interest rates continued to depress the real estate market.

Annual earnings fell 51 percent to $43.3 million, or $2.36 per share, from $88.8 million, or $4.86 per share in 2005. Revenue rose 2 percent to $2.47 billion from $2.43 billion.

Copyright 2007 Associated Press

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North American Title Insurance Company (NATIC) is a seasoned title insurance underwriter, helping title agents to achieve their individual business goals for more than 50 years. Today, the company conducts real estate settlement services in 39 states and the District of Columbia through a network of experienced, independent agents.