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Ace Ltd 4Q Profit Up 5%; New-Year View Weaker Than Street

DOW JONES NEWSWIRES Ace Ltd.'s (ACE) fourth-quarter earnings rose 5% and operating profit handily beat analysts' estimates as the company's net premiums written increased. But shares fell 5.1% after hours to $59.30 as the company also forecast new-year earnings of $6.10 to $6.50 a share, below the $7.47 consensus projection of analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters. Chairman and Chief Executive Evan Greenberg said the company had a "very good fourth quarter and a strong finish to an excellent year, both financially and operationally." The commercial insurer, which is a unit of ACE Group in Zurich, has seen its core profit decline of late as the percentage of premiums paid out has risen. Like many insurers, its bottom line can be vastly affected by investment gains and losses. In December, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services lifted its rating on Ace, saying the company had met or exceeded all of the agency's expectations since it had revised its outlook on the company to positive in late 2008. Ace reported a profit of $1 billion, or $2.92 a share, up from $953 million, or $2.81 a share, a year earlier. Excluding items such as investment gains and losses, operating income rose to $2.05 from $2.01. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had most recently forecast operating earnings of $1.84. Net premiums written rose 3.5% to $3.42 billion. Investment income increased 3.9%, and net realized investment gains declined 18% to $305 million. The company's property-and-casualty combined ratio, which indicates the percentage of premiums paid out, rose to 90.3% from 89.6%. -By Nathan Becker, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2855; nathan.becker@dowjones.com

Stock News for Ace (ACE)
DateTimeHeadline
05/22/201513:18:32Statement of Changes in Beneficial Ownership (4)
05/22/201513:17:32Statement of Changes in Beneficial Ownership (4)
05/22/201513:16:09Statement of Changes in Beneficial Ownership (4)
05/22/201506:05:30Current Report Filing (8-k)
05/21/201512:53:00ACE Shareholders Approve Quarterly Dividend Increase; Board Declares...
05/20/201512:15:10What Is the S&P 500 Index?
05/19/201509:43:00ACE Launches ACE Business Class in Sweden; New Corporate Travel...
05/19/201503:00:00ACE appoints Ashwin Kapoor as Terrorism & Political Violence...
05/17/201522:41:00ACE Announces Expansion in Asiaâs Medical Malpractice Liability F...
05/13/201503:00:00ACEâs 10 Top Tips to Help BIBA Brokers Prepare for the Global C...
05/06/201518:05:00ACE Infographic Illustrates Evolution of Cyber Risk, How to Learn...
05/05/201518:46:00ACE Announces Enhanced Excess Casualty Coverage for Middle Market...
04/30/201512:34:00A.M. Best Affirms the Ratings of ACE European Group Limited
04/30/201512:20:00A.M. Best Affirms Ratings for Subsidiaries of ACE Limited
04/29/201514:38:57Quarterly Report (10-q)
04/28/201516:31:42Additional Proxy Soliciting Materials (definitive) (defa14a)
04/24/201516:01:00ACE Announces Retirement of Chief Auditor Julie Schaekel; Dimitry...
04/23/201520:54:00ACE Renews Support of American Forestsâ Reforesting and Ecosy...
04/23/201510:22:34ACE Limited Given New $111.00 Price Target at Deutsche Bank (ACE)
04/22/201503:00:00ACE Global Markets Increases Fine Art and Specie Insurance Capacity

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