CONTACT: David Foy
WHITE MOUNTAINS REPORTS ADJUSTED BOOK VALUE PER SHARE OF $699
HAMILTON, Bermuda (February 5, 2016) - White Mountains Insurance Group, Ltd. (NYSE: WTM) reported an adjusted book value per share of $699 at December 31, 2015, up 6.8% and 5.3% for the quarter and year ended December 31, 2015, including dividends. Adding the estimated gain of $84 per share for the previously announced Sirius Group sale, adjusted book value per share is approximately $783, up 18.0% for the year ended December 31, 2015, including dividends.
Ray Barrette, Chairman and CEO, commented, “It was a big year for White Mountains, driven by the agreements to sell the Sirius Group and Symetra. Adjusted book value per share was up 18% to $783, including the Sirius Group sale gain calculated on its year end book value. The sale is expected to close in the first quarter of 2016. The Symetra sale closed on February 1st and most of the gain was included in our 2015 results. Excluding these transactions, we had a decent year. Our total return on invested assets, excluding Symetra, was impacted by the strengthening dollar and weak equity markets. OneBeacon (96% combined ratio) and Sirius Group (85% combined ratio) contributed solid underwriting profits. BAM made big strides with strong growth and improved pricing. Insurance Services are doing well. We repurchased $284 million, or about 387,000 shares, in 2015 at an average price of $733. Our share count is now down to an all-time low of 5.6 million shares. After the Sirius Group sale, we expect to have roughly $2.4 billion of undeployed capital at the parent. Going forward we are likely to buy back shares while we look for good opportunities to redeploy capital. In the current environment, patience is required.”
Adjusted comprehensive income was $264 million and $232 million in the quarter and year ended December 31, 2015, compared to adjusted comprehensive net loss of $7 million and adjusted comprehensive income of $135 million in the quarter and year ended December 31, 2014. Net income attributable to common shareholders was $268 million and $298 million in the quarter and year ended December 31, 2015, compared to $70 million and $312 million in the quarter and year ended December 31, 2014.
Investment in Symetra Common Shares
Following the third quarter of 2015 announcement that Symetra had entered into a definitive merger agreement with Sumitomo Life Insurance Company (“Sumitomo Life”) and Symetra shareholders' November 5, 2015 meeting to approve the transaction, White Mountains relinquished its representation on Symetra's board of directors. As a result, we now account for Symetra common shares at fair value rather than under the equity method. White Mountains’s carrying value per Symetra share rose to $31.77 at December 31, 2015 from $18.65 at December 31, 2014. Including dividends, Symetra produced $264 million of adjusted comprehensive income for White Mountains in 2015, of which $241 million was recognized as an after-tax unrealized investment gain in the fourth quarter. On February 1, 2016, Symetra closed its definitive merger agreement with Sumitomo Life and White Mountains received proceeds of $658 million, or $32 per common share.
David Foy, Executive Vice President and CFO, said, “White Mountains initially invested $195 million in Symetra in August 2004 when it co-led the private equity buyout of Safeco Life with Berkshire Hathaway. Including dividends, this investment returned about four times the money we originally invested, which produced a compound annual return of 15.2% over eleven and a half years. The comparable return for the S&P 500 over that period was 7.2%, while S&P Financials had a negative return. I want to thank Tom Marra, Margaret Meister, and all of the management, employees, and directors of Symetra through the years, as well as the investment team at White Mountains Advisors, for producing this outstanding result.”
The following information was filed by White Mountains Insurance Group Ltd (WTM) on Friday, February 5, 2016 as an 8K 2.02 statement, which is an earnings press release pertaining to results of operations and financial condition. It may be helpful to assess the quality of management by comparing the information in the press release to the information in the accompanying 10-K Annual Report statement of earnings and operation as management may choose to highlight particular information in the press release.