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Stewart Reports First Quarter 2019 Results

HOUSTON, April 25, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Stewart Information Services Corporation (NYSE: STC) today reported a net loss attributable to Stewart of $6.8 million ($0.29 per diluted share) for the first quarter 2019, compared to a net loss attributable to Stewart of $3.8 million ($0.16 per diluted share) for the first quarter 2018. Pretax loss before noncontrolling interests for the first quarter 2019 was $7.2 million compared to a pretax loss before noncontrolling interests of $3.3 million for the first quarter 2018.

First quarter 2019 results included:

  • $3.5 million of net unrealized gains recorded in the title segment relating to changes in fair value of equity securities investments,
  • $2.0 million of third-party advisory expenses related to the Fidelity National Financial (FNF) merger transaction included in other operating expenses within the ancillary services and corporate segment,
  • $0.8 million of litigation expense related to a 2013 lender services acquisition included in other operating expenses within the ancillary services and corporate segment, and
  • $0.7 million of office closure costs included in other operating expenses within the title segment.

First quarter 2018 results included:

  • $2.3 million of third party advisory expenses recorded in other operating expenses in the ancillary services and corporate segment relating to the strategic alternatives review, and
  • $2.2 million of net unrealized losses recorded in the title segment relating to changes in fair value of equity securities investments.

"In addition to preparing for the spring selling season, we continue to work through the ongoing regulatory approval process for our merger with Fidelity National," stated Matthew W. Morris, chief executive officer. "I remain thankful for the support and professionalism of our associates during the transaction process."

Merger Update
With respect to the proposed merger with FNF, we continue to work with FNF to respond to the Second Request of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). FNF has also filed a new Form A application with the New York State Department of Financial Services, which disapproved a prior application with respect to Stewart Title Insurance Company, our New York domiciled title insurance underwriter. We will continue to respond to the FTC's Second Request and maintain discussions with all other necessary regulatory bodies to seek approval of the proposed merger. 

Selected Financial Information
Summary results of operations are as follows (dollars in millions, except per share amounts):


Quarter Ended March 31,


2019

2018




Total revenues

398.5

437.2

Pretax loss before noncontrolling interests

(7.2)

(3.3)

Income tax benefit

2.4

1.3

Net loss attributable to Stewart

(6.8)

(3.8)

Net loss per diluted share attributable to Stewart

(0.29)

(0.16)

Title Segment
Summary results of the title segment are as follows (dollars in millions, except pretax margin):


Quarter Ended March 31,


2019

2018

Change





Total operating revenues

376.1

422.4

(11)%

Investment income and other net gains

8.3

3.0

173%

Pretax (loss) income

(0.4)

5.1

(107)%

Pretax margin

(0.1)%

1.2%


Title operating revenues in the first quarter 2019 decreased compared to the prior year quarter as direct title and independent agency revenues decreased 13 percent and 9 percent, respectively. The segment's overall operating expenses in the first quarter 2019 declined $35.5 million, or 8 percent, compared to the prior year quarter, as combined employee and other operating costs decreased 7 percent and title loss expense decreased 17 percent. Excluding the effects of the changes in fair value of equity securities investments and the 2019 office closure costs, the title segment's pretax loss was $3.3 million in the first quarter 2019, compared to pretax income of $7.3 million in the first quarter 2018.

Direct title revenues information is presented below (dollars in millions):


Quarter Ended March 31,


2019

2018

Change





Non-commercial:




Domestic

107.4

115.7

(7)%

International

15.6

18.2

(14)%

Commercial:




Domestic

33.7

47.5

(29)%

International

4.5

4.1

10%

Total direct title revenues

161.2

185.5

(13)%

Non-commercial domestic revenues, which include revenues from purchase transactions and centralized title operations (primarily processing refinancing and default title orders), declined $8.3 million primarily as a result of a combined 10 percent decline in purchase and refinancing closed orders in the first quarter 2019 compared to the prior year quarter. The reduced orders were influenced by the decline in total home sales and mortgage lending during the first quarter 2019 as compared to the prior year quarter. Total commercial revenues decreased $13.4 million, or 26 percent, primarily due to fewer transactions during the first quarter 2019, compared to the first quarter 2018 which benefited from a few large portfolio transactions and carryover of some opened transactions from the fourth quarter 2017. First quarter 2019 domestic commercial fee per file increased 9 percent to approximately $9,600, primarily due to increased transaction sizes, while domestic residential fee per file increased 7 percent to approximately $2,300 as a result of the mix shift to more purchase transactions and home price appreciation. Total international title revenues decreased $2.2 million, or 10 percent, primarily driven by market conditions in Canada.

Gross revenues from independent agency operations declined in the first quarter 2019, compared to last year's quarter, primarily as a result of reductions in generally high agency volume states of Texas, New Jersey, Utah, Pennsylvania and California, partially offset by a revenue increase in the state of New York. The independent agency remittance rate in the first quarter 2019 was 17.9 percent, which was comparable to the prior year quarter.

Ancillary Services and Corporate Segment
Summary results of the ancillary services and corporate segment are as follows (dollars in millions):


Quarter Ended March 31,


2019

2018

Change





Total revenues

14.1

11.8

19%

Pretax loss

(6.8)

(8.4)

18%

First quarter 2019 segment revenues increased compared to the prior year quarter, primarily due to a $3.1 million revenue increase from search services. Excluding the non-operating charges noted above for the segment, the first quarter 2019 pretax loss would have been $4.0 million, an improvement of $2.1 million, or 34 percent, compared to the prior year quarter. Additionally, the segment's results for the first quarter 2019 and 2018 included approximately $7.5 million and $8.1 million, respectively, of net expenses attributable to parent company and corporate operations (including the non-operating charges).

Expenses
Employee costs for the first quarter 2019 declined 7 percent to $129.3 million from $138.8 million in the prior year quarter, primarily as a result of the decrease in average employee counts, which was principally related to volume declines in our direct title operations. As a percentage of total operating revenues, employee costs for the first quarter 2019 were 33.1 percent, compared to 32.0 percent in the prior year quarter, due to lower operating revenues in the first quarter 2019.

Other operating expenses for the first quarter 2019 decreased 4 percent to $77.2 million, compared to the first quarter 2018. This decrease was primarily due to the reduced outside search fees, consistent with the lower direct title revenues in the first quarter 2019, and lower professional fee expenses. As a percentage of total operating revenues, other operating expenses for the first quarter 2019 were 19.8 percent compared to 18.5 percent in the prior year quarter. Excluding the non-operating charges discussed above, the other operating expenses ratio in the first quarter 2019 and 2018 would have been 18.9 percent and 18.0 percent, respectively.

Title loss expense for the first quarter 2019 decreased $3.3 million to $15.7 million compared to $19.0 million in the first quarter 2018, primarily due to the Company's favorable claims experience. Title losses, as a percentage of title revenues, were 4.2 percent in the first quarter 2019 compared to 4.5 percent in the prior year quarter. We expect our title losses to remain in the range of 4.0 to 4.2 percent of title revenues for 2019.

Other
Net cash used by operations in the first quarter 2019 increased to $39.9 million, compared to net cash used of $28.9 million in the prior year quarter, primarily due to the higher net loss and increased payments of liabilities during the first quarter 2019.

Other comprehensive income in the first quarter 2019 improved to $13.8 million, compared to other comprehensive loss of $9.8 million in the first quarter 2018, primarily as a result of the net recovery of the market value of our debt securities investments, largely due to decreases in the overall interest rate environment, and favorable foreign currency exchange rate changes during the first quarter 2019.  

About Stewart
Stewart Information Services Corporation (NYSE:STC) is a global real estate services company, offering products and services through our direct operations, network of Stewart Trusted Providers™ and family of companies. From residential and commercial title insurance and closing and settlement services to specialized offerings for the mortgage industry, we offer the comprehensive service, deep expertise and solutions our customers need for any real estate transaction. At Stewart, we believe in building strong relationships – and these partnerships are the cornerstone of every closing, every transaction and every deal. Stewart. Real partners. Real possibilities.™ More information is available at the Company's website at stewart.com, or you can subscribe to the Stewart blog at blog.stewart.com, or follow Stewart on Twitter® @stewarttitleco.

Forward-looking statements. Certain statements in this news release are "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements relate to future, not past, events and often address our expected future business and financial performance.  These statements often contain words such as "expect," "anticipate," "intend," "plan," "believe," "seek," "will," "foresee" or other similar words. Forward-looking statements by their nature are subject to various risks and uncertainties that could cause our actual results to be materially different than those expressed in the forward-looking statements. These risks and uncertainties include, among other things, the challenging economic conditions; adverse changes in the level of real estate activity; changes in mortgage interest rates, existing and new home sales, and availability of mortgage financing; our ability to respond to and implement technology changes, including the completion of the implementation of our enterprise systems; the impact of unanticipated title losses or the need to strengthen our policy loss reserves; any effect of title losses on our cash flows and financial condition; the ability to attract and retain highly productive sales associates; the impact of vetting our agency operations for quality and profitability; independent agency remittance rates; changes to the participants in the secondary mortgage market and the rate of refinancing that affects the demand for title insurance products; regulatory non-compliance, fraud or defalcations by our title insurance agencies or employees; our ability to timely and cost-effectively respond to significant industry changes and introduce new products and services; the outcome of pending litigation; the impact of changes in governmental and insurance regulations, including any future reductions in the pricing of title insurance products and services; our dependence on our operating subsidiaries as a source of cash flow; the continued realization of expense savings from our cost management program; our ability to successfully integrate acquired businesses; our ability to access the equity and debt financing markets when and if needed; our ability to grow our international operations; seasonality and weather; and our ability to respond to the actions of our competitors. These risks and uncertainties, as well as others, are discussed in more detail in our documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2018, and if applicable, our Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, and our Current Reports on Form 8-K. All forward-looking statements included in this news release are expressly qualified in their entirety by such cautionary statements. We expressly disclaim any obligation to update, amend or clarify any forward-looking statements contained in this news release to reflect events or circumstances that may arise after the date hereof, except as may be required by applicable law.

STEWART INFORMATION SERVICES CORPORATION

CONDENSED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS (UNAUDITED)

(In thousands of dollars, except per share amounts and except where noted)



Quarter Ended March 31,


2019

2018

Revenues:



Title revenues:



Direct operations

161,247

185,512

Agency operations

214,863

236,854

Ancillary services

14,282

11,831

Total operating revenues

390,392

434,197

Investment income

4,724

4,704

Investment and other gains (losses) - net

3,403

(1,671)


398,519

437,230

Expenses:



Amounts retained by agencies

176,494

195,207

Employee costs

129,256

138,822

Other operating expenses

77,155

80,267

Title losses and related claims

15,686

18,981

Depreciation and amortization

5,990

6,234

Interest

1,164

974


405,745

440,485

Loss before taxes and noncontrolling interests

(7,226)

(3,255)

Income tax benefit

2,442

1,294

Net loss

(4,784)

(1,961)

Less net income attributable to noncontrolling interests

1,982

1,819

Net loss attributable to Stewart

(6,766)

(3,780)




Net loss per diluted share attributable to Stewart

(0.29)

(0.16)

Diluted average shares outstanding (000)

23,595

23,508




Selected financial information:



Net cash used by operations

(39,883)

(28,926)

Other comprehensive income (loss)

13,761

(9,847)

 

Monthly Order Counts:

Opened Orders 2019:

Jan

Feb

Mar

Total


Closed Orders 2019:

Jan

Feb

Mar

Total

Commercial

1,572

1,236

1,490

4,298


Commercial

1,312

929

1,263

3,504

Purchase

16,869

16,963

19,715

53,547


Purchase

9,659

10,401

13,258

33,318

Refinancing

7,584

7,032

8,568

23,184


Refinancing

3,900

4,314

5,029

13,243

Other

521

675

395

1,591


Other

361

340

295

996

Total

26,546

25,906

30,168

82,620


Total

15,232

15,984

19,845

51,061












Opened Orders 2018:

Jan

Feb

Mar

Total


Closed Orders 2018:

Jan

Feb

Mar

Total

Commercial (Note 1)

2,649

2,395

2,395

7,439


Commercial (Note 1)

1,696

1,811

1,888

5,395

Purchase

17,023

17,753

21,715

56,491


Purchase

10,855

10,943

14,883

36,681

Refinancing

7,609

7,287

8,236

23,132


Refinancing

5,129

4,538

5,212

14,879

Other

1,107

944

962

3,013


Other

886

900

1,329

3,115

Total

28,388

28,379

33,308

90,075


Total

18,566

18,192

23,312

60,070


Note 1 – Prior year commercial orders were updated to take into account changes to our domestic order tracking process and the exclusion of international orders. Refer to Appendix B for the updated orders information for the years 2018 and 2017.

 

STEWART INFORMATION SERVICES CORPORATION

CONDENSED BALANCE SHEETS

(In thousands of dollars)



March 31,
2019
(Unaudited)

December 31,
2018

Assets:



Cash and cash equivalents

164,507

192,067

Short-term investments

23,473

22,950

Investments in debt and equity securities, at fair value

627,648

636,017

Receivables – premiums from agencies

29,421

29,032

Receivables – other

51,299

47,044

Allowance for uncollectible amounts

(4,450)

(4,614)

Property and equipment, net

57,192

60,794

Operating lease assets (Note 2)

103,947

-

Title plants, at cost

74,737

74,737

Goodwill

248,890

248,890

Intangible assets, net of amortization

8,518

9,727

Deferred tax assets

4,575

4,575

Other assets

52,553

51,711


1,442,310

1,372,930

Liabilities:



Notes payable

105,043

108,036

Accounts payable and accrued liabilities

71,621

109,283

Operating lease liabilities (Note 2)

115,307

-

Estimated title losses

454,075

461,560

Deferred tax liabilities

17,360

14,214


763,406

693,093

Stockholders' equity:



Common Stock and additional paid-in capital

187,139

186,714

Retained earnings

500,335

514,248

Accumulated other comprehensive loss

(11,010)

(24,771)

Treasury stock

(2,666)

(2,666)

Stockholders' equity attributable to Stewart

673,798

673,525

Noncontrolling interests

5,106

6,312

Total stockholders' equity

678,904

679,837


1,442,310

1,372,930







Number of shares outstanding (000)

23,699

23,719

Book value per share

28.65

28.66


Note 2 – Beginning in 2019, we adopted the new lease accounting standard which resulted in the balance sheet recognition of assets and liabilities related to our operating leases of office space. Operating lease assets represent the right to use the underlying assets over the corresponding lease terms. This adoption did not result in any impact to our statements of operations and cash flows.

 

STEWART INFORMATION SERVICES CORPORATION

SEGMENT INFORMATION

(In thousands of dollars)


Quarter Ended:

March 31, 2019


March 31, 2018


Title

Ancillary
Services
and
Corporate

Consolidated


Title

Ancillary
Services
and
Corporate

Consolidated

Revenues:








Operating revenues

376,110

14,282

390,392


422,366

11,831

434,197

Investment income

4,724

-

4,724


4,704

-

4,704

Investment and other gains (losses) - net

3,603

(200)

3,403


(1,659)

(12)

(1,671)


384,437

14,082

398,519


425,411

11,819

437,230

Expenses:








Amounts retained by agencies

176,494

-

176,494


195,207

-

195,207

Employee costs

123,056

6,200

129,256


131,604

7,218

138,822

Other operating expenses

64,427

12,728

77,155


69,171

11,096

80,267

Title losses and related claims

15,686

-

15,686


18,981

-

18,981

Depreciation and amortization

5,153

837

5,990


5,317

917

6,234

Interest

6

1,164

1,164


6

968

974


384,816

20,929

405,745


420,286

20,199

440,485

(Loss) income before taxes

(379)

(6,847)

(7,226)


5,125

(8,380)

(3,255)

Appendix A
Adjusted revenues and adjusted EBITDA

Management uses a variety of financial and operational measurements other than its financial statements prepared in accordance with United States Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) to analyze its performance. These include: (1) adjusted revenues, which are reported revenues adjusted for any net investment and other gains and losses and (2) net income after earnings from noncontrolling interests and before interest expense, income tax expense, and depreciation and amortization and adjusted for net investment and other gains and losses and other non-operating costs such as FNF merger expenses and other third-party advisory costs (adjusted EBITDA). Management views these measures as important performance measures of core profitability for its operations and as key components of its internal financial reporting. Management believes investors benefit from having access to the same financial measures that management uses.

The following tables reconcile the non-GAAP financial measurements used by management to our most directly comparable GAAP measures for the quarter ended March 31, 2019 and 2018 (dollars in millions).


Quarter Ended March 31,


2019

2018

Change





Revenues

398.5

437.2


Less: Investment and other (gains) losses

(3.4)

1.7


Adjusted revenues

395.1

438.9

(10)%





Net loss attributable to Stewart

(6.8)

(3.8)


Noncontrolling interests

2.0

1.8


Income taxes

(2.4)

(1.3)


Loss before taxes and noncontrolling interests

(7.2)

(3.3)


FNF merger expenses

2.0

2.3


Other non-operating charges

1.5

-


Investment and other (gains) losses

(3.4)

1.7


Adjusted (loss) income before taxes and noncontrolling interests

(7.1)

0.7


Depreciation and amortization

6.0

6.2


Interest expense

1.2

1.0






Adjusted EBITDA

0.1

7.9

(99)%

 

Appendix B

Updated 2018 and 2017 Quarterly Order Counts


2018 Closed Orders:

Q1

Q2

Q3

Q4

Total

Commercial

5,395

5,218

4,388

4,628

19,629

Purchase

36,681

49,069

46,041

39,428

171,219

Refinancing

14,879

14,582

13,146

12,379

54,986

Other

3,115

2,536

1,414

1,502

8,567

Total

60,070

71,405

64,989

57,937

254,401







2018 Opened Orders:

Q1

Q2

Q3

Q4

Total

Commercial

7,439

6,171

5,275

5,267

24,152

Purchase

56,491

66,074

58,928

46,294

227,787

Refinancing

23,132

21,615

20,441

18,043

83,231

Other

3,013

2,531

1,825

1,628

8,997

Total

90,075

96,391

86,469

71,232

344,167


2017 Closed Orders:

Q1

Q2

Q3

Q4

Total

Commercial

5,454

6,469

5,799

5,568

23,290

Purchase

40,202

52,362

48,432

43,536

184,532

Refinancing

19,208

16,298

17,965

18,414

71,885

Other

3,198

4,135

2,872

2,318

12,523

Total

68,062

79,264

75,068

69,836

292,230







2017 Opened Orders:

Q1

Q2

Q3

Q4

Total

Commercial

8,945

8,691

8,431

7,866

33,933

Purchase

61,242

67,823

59,679

50,404

239,148

Refinancing

23,456

24,183

27,155

24,196

98,990

Other

4,596

4,423

4,565

4,026

17,610

Total

98,239

105,120

99,830

86,492

389,681

 



CONTACT: Nat Otis, SVP - Finance and Director of Investor Relations (713) 625-8360

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