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First American Financial Reports Results for the Fourth Quarter and Full Year of 2014

Reports Earnings of 74 Cents per Diluted Share for the Fourth Quarter

SANTA ANA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb. 12, 2015-- First American Financial Corporation (NYSE: FAF), a leading global provider of title insurance, settlement services and risk solutions for real estate transactions, today announced financial results for the fourth quarter and year ended Dec. 31, 2014.

Current Quarter Highlights

  • Total revenue of $1.3 billion, up 3 percent compared with last year
  • Title Insurance segment pretax margin of 10.8 percent, up from 7.8 percent last year
  • Commercial revenues of $198.7 million, up 13 percent compared with last year
  • Specialty Insurance segment pretax margin of 18.4 percent
  • Cash flow from operations of $182.4 million
    • Cash flow for the full year 2014 of $348.6 million
  • Issued $300 million of 4.6 percent senior unsecured notes with a 10-year term
  • Debt-to-capital ratio of 18.6 percent as of Dec. 31, 2014

Selected Financial Information
($ in millions, except per share data)

                For the Three Months Ended

December 31

 

    For the Full Year Ended

December 31

2014       2013       2014       2013
Total revenue $ 1,255.5       $ 1,219.9     $ 4,677.9       $ 4,956.1
Income before taxes 122.9 84.8 350.6 310.7
 
Net income $ 80.5 $ 51.6 $ 233.5 $ 186.4
Net income per diluted share 0.74 0.48 2.15 1.71
 

Total revenue for the fourth quarter of 2014 was $1.3 billion, an increase of 3 percent relative to the fourth quarter of 2013. Net income in the current quarter was $80.5 million, or 74 cents per diluted share, compared with net income of $51.6 million, or 48 cents per diluted share, in the fourth quarter of 2013. The current quarter results include net realized investment gains of $6.8 million, or 4 cents per diluted share, compared with gains of $2.4 million, or 1 cent per share, in the fourth quarter of last year. In addition, investment income in the current quarter was reduced by impairments of investments in affiliates totaling $20.0 million, or 12 cents per diluted share, compared with impairments of $7.8 million, or 4 cents per diluted share, in the fourth quarter of 2013.

Total revenue for the full year of 2014 was $4.7 billion, a decline of 6 percent relative to the prior year. Net income was $233.5 million, or $2.15 per diluted share, compared with $186.4 million, or $1.71 per diluted share, in 2013.

“I am pleased with the company’s strong results in the fourth quarter,” said Dennis J. Gilmore, chief executive officer at First American Financial Corporation. “Our consistent focus on expense management drove strong operating leverage in the quarter, resulting in a 10.8 percent pretax margin for the title segment. Our commercial business achieved another record quarter, with revenues up 13 percent, and our specialty insurance segment generated a pretax margin of 18.4 percent, driven by continued momentum in our home warranty business.

“Given the backdrop of an improving economy, we remain optimistic that the housing market will continue to strengthen in 2015. In January, refinance activity rose sharply in response to the unexpected decline in mortgage rates, driving total open orders per day up 27 percent compared with January last year. While the increase in refinance orders will provide short-term benefits, it’s uncertain how long this level of elevated activity will continue. With regard to the purchase market, our full-year expectation is for modest growth in originations, with some improvement in both transaction levels and home prices.

“Based on our positive long-term outlook, our board of directors recently approved a 4 percent increase in the common stock dividend to $1.00 per share annually.”

Title Insurance and Services
($ in millions, except average revenue per order)

                For the Three Months Ended

December 31

2014                 2013
Total revenue $ 1,157.9                 $ 1,125.5
 
Income before taxes $ 124.5 $ 87.9
Pretax margin 10.8 % 7.8 %
 
Direct open orders 268,600 270,500
Direct closed orders 204,700 217,300
 
U.S. Commercial
Total revenues $ 198.7 $ 175.7
Open orders 31,800 30,200
Closed orders 20,800 20,900
Average revenue per order $ 9,600 $ 8,400
 

Total revenue for the Title Insurance and Services segment was $1.2 billion in the fourth quarter of 2014, an increase of 3 percent from the same quarter of 2013. Direct premiums and escrow fees were up 9 percent compared with last year, due to a 16 percent increase in average revenue per order that was partly offset by a 6 percent decline in the number of direct title orders closed in the quarter. The average revenue per direct title order climbed to $2,171, due to an increase in the average revenue per closed order for commercial and purchase transactions, as well as a shift in the mix to higher-premium purchase and commercial transactions. Agent premiums were down by 3 percent in the current quarter, reflecting the normal reporting lag of approximately one quarter.

Information and other revenues were $154.7 million this quarter, up 8 percent compared with the same quarter of last year. This increase was primarily due to the impact of recent acquisitions, partly offset by lower demand for the company’s default information products as a result of the decline in loss mitigation and foreclosure activity during the quarter.

Investment income in the current quarter was $2.7 million, down $11.1 million, due primarily to impairments of investments in affiliates totaling $20.0 million, compared with $5.8 million in impairments in the fourth quarter of 2013. Net realized investment gains were $4.6 million in the quarter, up $6.8 million from last year.

Personnel costs were $340.8 million in the fourth quarter, up $10.3 million, or 3 percent, compared with the fourth quarter of 2013. This increase was primarily due to higher incentive-based compensation driven by the improvement in revenues and profitability in the current quarter compared to last year.

Other operating expenses were $192.1 million in the fourth quarter, down $15.2 million, or 7 percent, compared with the fourth quarter of 2013. This decline was primarily due to lower legal expenses as well as lower production-related costs given the decline in orders in the current quarter.

The provision for policy losses and other claims was $64.7 million in the fourth quarter, or 6.5 percent of title premiums and escrow fees, compared with a loss provision rate of 5.8 percent in the same quarter of the prior year.

Pretax income for the Title Insurance and Services segment was $124.5 million in the fourth quarter, compared with $87.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2013. Pretax margin was 10.8 percent in the current quarter, compared with 7.8 percent last year.

Specialty Insurance
($ in millions)

                For the Three Months Ended

December 31

2014                 2013
Total revenue $ 95.5                 $ 88.0
 
Income before taxes $ 17.6 $ 14.9
Pretax margin 18.4 % 17.0 %
 

Total revenue for the Specialty Insurance segment was $95.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2014, up 9 percent compared with the fourth quarter of 2013. The overall loss ratio for the Specialty Insurance segment was 52 percent in the current quarter, essentially flat with the prior year. Growth in premiums and an increase in net realized investment gains drove a pretax margin of 18.4 percent, up from 17.0 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013.

Teleconference/Webcast

First American’s fourth quarter and full year 2014 results will be discussed in more detail on Thursday, Feb. 12, 2015, at 11 a.m. EST, via teleconference. The toll-free dial-in number is 877-407-8293. Callers from outside the United States may dial 201-689-8349. The passcode for the event is “First American.”

The live audio webcast of the call will be available on First American’s website at www.firstam.com/investor. An audio replay of the conference call will be available through Feb. 26, 2015, by dialing 201-612-7415 and using the conference ID 13598928. An audio archive of the call will also be available on First American’s investor website.

About First American

First American Financial Corporation (NYSE: FAF) is a leading provider of title insurance, settlement services and risk solutions for real estate transactions that traces its heritage back to 1889. First American also provides title plant management services; title and other real property records and images; valuation products and services; home warranty products; property and casualty insurance; and banking, trust and investment advisory services. With revenues of $4.7 billion in 2014, the company offers its products and services directly and through its agents throughout the United States and abroad. More information about the company can be found at www.firstam.com.

Website Disclosure

First American posts information of interest to investors at www.firstam.com/investor. This includes opened and closed title insurance order counts for its U.S. direct title insurance operations, which are posted approximately 12 days after the end of each month.

Forward-Looking Statements

Certain statements made in this press release and the related management commentary and responses to investor questions, including but not limited to those related to an improving economy; the outlook for the housing market, including an uncertain refinance market and increasing home purchase transaction volumes and prices; the company’s ability to capitalize on the housing recovery; the outlook for the commercial market, including declining growth rates; continued strength in the company’s home warranty business; expense management, including projected interest and defined benefit plan expenses; and our expected normalized tax rate, are forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. These forward-looking statements may contain the words “believe,” “anticipate,” “expect,” “plan,” “predict,” “estimate,” “project,” “will be,” “will continue,” “will likely result,” or other similar words and phrases. Risks and uncertainties exist that may cause results to differ materially from those set forth in these forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause the anticipated results to differ from those described in the forward-looking statements include: interest rate fluctuations; changes in the performance of the real estate markets; volatility in the capital markets; unfavorable economic conditions; impairments in the company’s goodwill or other intangible assets; failures at financial institutions where the company deposits funds; changes in applicable government regulations; heightened scrutiny by legislators and regulators of the company’s title insurance and services segment and certain other of the company’s businesses; the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s exercise of its broad rulemaking and supervisory powers; regulation of title insurance rates; reform of government-sponsored mortgage enterprises; limitations on access to public records and other data; changes in relationships with large mortgage lenders and government-sponsored enterprises; changes in measures of the strength of the company’s title insurance underwriters, including ratings and statutory capital and surplus; losses in the company’s investment portfolio; expenses of and funding obligations to the pension plan; material variance between actual and expected claims experience; defalcations, increased claims or other costs and expenses attributable to the company’s use of title agents; any inadequacy in the company’s risk mitigation efforts; systems interruptions and intrusions, wire transfer errors or unauthorized data disclosures; inability to realize the benefits of the company’s offshore strategy; inability of the company’s subsidiaries to pay dividends or repay funds; challenges and adverse effects arising from acquisitions; and other factors described in the company’s quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2014, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made. The company does not undertake to update forward-looking statements to reflect circumstances or events that occur after the date the forward-looking statements are made.

Use of Non-GAAP Financial Measures

This news release and related management commentary contain certain financial measures that are not presented in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), including a personnel and other operating expense ratio. The company is presenting these non-GAAP financial measures because they provide the company’s management and investors with additional insight into the operational efficiency and performance of the company relative to earlier periods and relative to the company’s competitors. The company does not intend for these non-GAAP financial measures to be a substitute for any GAAP financial information. In this news release, these non-GAAP financial measures have been presented with, and reconciled to, the most directly comparable GAAP financial measures. Investors should use these non-GAAP financial measures only in conjunction with the comparable GAAP financial measures.

 
First American Financial Corporation
Summary of Consolidated Financial Results and Selected Information
(in thousands, except per share amounts and title orders)
(unaudited)
                       
For the Three Months Ended For the Twelve Months Ended
December 31 December 31
2014       2013 2014       2013
 
Total revenues $ 1,255,451 $ 1,219,872 $ 4,677,949 $ 4,956,077
 
Income before income taxes $ 122,897 $ 84,847 $ 350,560 $ 310,708
Income tax expense   42,159   33,058   116,345   123,644
Net income 80,738 51,789 234,215 187,064

Less: Net income attributable to noncontrolling interests

  227   162   681   697
Net income attributable to the Company $ 80,511 $ 51,627 $ 233,534 $ 186,367
 
Net income per share attributable to stockholders:
Basic $ 0.75 $ 0.49 $ 2.18 $ 1.74
Diluted $ 0.74 $ 0.48 $ 2.15 $ 1.71
 
Cash dividends declared per share $ 0.24 $ 0.12 $ 0.84 $ 0.48
 
Weighted average common shares outstanding:
Basic 107,356 105,765 106,884 106,991
Diluted 109,143 107,974 108,688 109,102
 

Selected Title Information

 
Title orders opened 268,600 270,500 1,155,500 1,384,600
 
Title orders closed 204,700 217,300 816,400 1,103,400
 
Paid title claims $ 67,567 $ 86,972 $ 272,123 $ 295,982
 
 
 
First American Financial Corporation
Selected Balance Sheet Information
(in thousands)
(unaudited)
                     
December 31, 2014 December 31, 2013
 
Cash and cash equivalents $ 1,190,080 $ 834,837
Investment portfolio 4,033,892 3,385,328
Goodwill and other intangible assets, net 1,015,757 892,373
Total assets 7,660,553 6,559,183
Reserve for claim losses 1,011,780 1,018,365
Notes and contracts payable 587,337 310,285
Total stockholders' equity $ 2,572,917 $ 2,453,049
 
 
 
First American Financial Corporation
Segment Information
(in thousands, unaudited)
                       
For the Three Months Ended Title Specialty Corporate

December 31, 2014

Consolidated Insurance Insurance (incl. Elims.)
Revenues
Direct premiums and escrow fees $ 585,883 $ 495,291 $ 90,592 $ -
Agent premiums 500,597 500,597 - -
Information and other 155,377 154,677 707 (7 )
Net investment income 6,787 2,703 1,983 2,101
Net realized investment gains(1)   6,807   4,601     2,206   -  
  1,255,451   1,157,869     95,488   2,094  
Expenses
Personnel costs 364,797 340,840 14,698 9,259
Premiums retained by agents 400,635 400,635 - -
Other operating expenses 211,657 192,091 12,992 6,574
Provision for policy losses and other claims 112,284 64,744 47,540 -
Depreciation and amortization 21,718 20,405 1,191 122
Premium taxes 15,223 13,766 1,457 -
Interest   6,240   841     -   5,399  
  1,132,554   1,033,322     77,878   21,354  
       
Income (loss) before income taxes $ 122,897 $ 124,547   $ 17,610 $ (19,260 )
 
 
For the Three Months Ended Title Specialty Corporate

December 31, 2013

Consolidated Insurance Insurance (incl. Elims.)
Revenues
Direct premiums and escrow fees $ 540,292 $ 455,567 $ 84,725 $ -
Agent premiums 514,615 514,615 - -
Information and other 144,215 143,820 401 (6 )
Net investment income 18,351 13,788 2,047 2,516

Net realized investment gains (losses)(1)

  2,399   (2,248 )   781   3,866  
  1,219,872   1,125,542     87,954   6,376  
Expenses
Personnel costs 358,443 330,551 14,478 13,414
Premiums retained by agents 412,674 412,674 - -
Other operating expenses 225,397 207,295 11,419 6,683
Provision for policy losses and other claims 100,612 56,086 44,526 -
Depreciation and amortization 19,775 17,717 1,239 819
Premium taxes 14,032 12,651 1,381 -
Interest   4,092   682     -   3,410  
  1,135,025   1,037,656     73,043   24,326  
       
Income (loss) before income taxes $ 84,847 $ 87,886   $ 14,911 $ (17,950 )
 

(1)

   

Includes impairment losses recorded in earnings, except for impairments on investments accounted for under the equity method, which are recorded in investment income.

 

 
 
First American Financial Corporation
Segment Information
(in thousands, unaudited)
                       
For the Twelve Months Ended Title Specialty Corporate

December 31, 2014

Consolidated Insurance Insurance (incl. Elims.)
Revenues
Direct premiums and escrow fees $ 2,115,274 $ 1,761,462 $ 353,812 $ -
Agent premiums 1,841,618 1,841,618 - -
Information and other 619,949 617,713 2,260 (24 )
Net investment income 71,041 59,785 7,288 3,968

Net realized investment gains(1)

  30,067   23,850   5,306   911  
  4,677,949   4,304,428   368,666   4,855  
Expenses
Personnel costs 1,410,752 1,314,089 62,118 34,545
Premiums retained by agents 1,470,895 1,470,895 - -
Other operating expenses 833,681 761,584 45,599 26,498
Provision for policy losses and other claims 450,023 253,122 196,901 -
Depreciation and amortization 85,597 77,820 4,978 2,799
Premium taxes 57,194 51,098 6,096 -
Interest   19,247   2,796   -   16,451  
  4,327,389   3,931,404   315,692   80,293  
       
Income (loss) before income taxes $ 350,560 $ 373,024 $ 52,974 $ (75,438 )
 
 
For the Twelve Months Ended Title Specialty Corporate

December 31, 2013

Consolidated Insurance Insurance (incl. Elims.)
Revenues
Direct premiums and escrow fees $ 2,184,464 $ 1,855,270 $ 329,194 $ -
Agent premiums 2,044,862 2,044,862 - -
Information and other 627,645 626,016 1,652 (23 )
Net investment income 89,895 76,606 7,342 5,947

Net realized investment gains(1)

  9,211   3,334   1,425   4,452  
  4,956,077   4,606,088   339,613   10,376  
Expenses
Personnel costs 1,445,582 1,338,361 58,261 48,960
Premiums retained by agents 1,636,694 1,636,694 - -
Other operating expenses 885,805 816,870 41,725 27,210
Provision for policy losses and other claims 530,356 343,461 186,895 -
Depreciation and amortization 74,916 66,956 4,865 3,095
Premium taxes 56,715 50,980 5,735 -
Interest   15,301   2,601   -   12,700  
  4,645,369   4,255,923   297,481   91,965  
       
Income (loss) before income taxes $ 310,708 $ 350,165 $ 42,132 $ (81,589 )
 

(1)

   

Includes impairment losses recorded in earnings, except for impairments on investments accounted for under the equity method, which are recorded in investment income.

 

 
                         
First American Financial Corporation
Expense Ratio Reconciliation
Title Insurance and Services Segment
($ in thousands, unaudited)
 
For the Three Months Ended For the Twelve Months Ended
December 31 December 31
2014 2013 2014 2013
 
Total revenues $ 1,157,869 $ 1,125,542 $ 4,304,428 $ 4,606,088

Less:

Net realized investment gains (losses)(1)

4,601 (2,248 ) 23,850 3,334
Net investment income 2,703 13,788 59,785 76,606
Premiums retained by agents   400,635     412,674     1,470,895     1,636,694  
Net operating revenues $ 749,930   $ 701,328   $ 2,749,898   $ 2,889,454  
 
Personnel and other operating expenses $ 532,931 $ 537,846 $ 2,075,673 $ 2,155,231
Ratio (% net operating revenues) 71.1 % 76.7 % 75.5 % 74.6 %
Ratio (% total revenues) 46.0 % 47.8 % 48.2 % 46.8 %
 

(1)

   

Includes impairment losses recorded in earnings, except for impairments on investments accounted for under the equity method, which are recorded in investment income.

 

 
     
First American Financial Corporation
Supplemental Direct Title Order Information
U.S. Operations
(unaudited)
                       
Q414 Q314 Q214 Q114 Q413
Open Orders per Day
Purchase 1,611 2,033 2,189 1,892 1,626
Refinance 1,627 1,521 1,554 1,397 1,462
Refinance as % of residential orders 50 % 43 % 42 % 42 % 47 %
 
Commercial 505 485 528 475 480

Other1

  522     609     701     682     726  
Total open orders per day   4,263     4,648     4,972     4,446     4,294  
 
Closed Orders per Day
Purchase 1,420 1,573 1,579 1,217 1,383
Refinance 1,122 1,113 983 907 1,096
Refinance as % of residential orders 44 % 41 % 38 % 43 % 44 %
 
Commercial 330 308 306 290 331
Other1   377     404     479     538     640  
Total closed orders per day   3,249     3,397     3,347     2,952     3,449  
 
Average Revenue per Order (ARPO)
Purchase $ 1,944 $ 1,950 $ 1,918 $ 1,799 $ 1,829
Refinance 869 857 812 813 819
Commercial 9,558 7,568 6,746 6,530 8,425
Other1 437 480 488 489 409
 
Total ARPO $ 2,171 $ 1,926 $ 1,830 $ 1,723 $ 1,878
 
Business Days 63 64 64 61 63
 

(1)

   

Includes default and other orders

Totals may not foot due to rounding
 

Source: First American Financial Corporation

First American Financial Corporation
Media Contact:
Marcus Ginnaty
Corporate Communications
714-250-3298
or
Investor Contact:
Craig Barberio
Investor Relations
714-250-5214