UPDATE 1-Sandy pushes Loews into 4th-qtr loss

Mon Feb 11, 2013 7:06am EST

* Loews 4th-qtr loss of $0.08/shr vs EPS $0.68 year ago

* Loews rev up 6 pct

* CNA oper loss of $0.03/shr vs est $0.04

Feb 11 (Reuters) - Hotels, energy and financial services conglomerate Loews Corp reported a fourth-quarter loss, hit by catastrophe losses linked to superstorm Sandy at CNA Financial Corp, its largest holding.

The loss attributable to Loews, controlled by the billionaire Tisch family, was $32 million, or 8 cents per share, compared with a profit of $271 million, or 68 cents per share, a year earlier.

After-tax catastrophe losses at CNA Financial, in which Loews has a 90 percent stake, rose to $190 million in the quarter from $11 million a year earlier.

The net operating loss at CNA Financial was $7 million, or 3 cents per share, compared with a profit of $193 million, or 71 cents per share, a year earlier.

Analysts had expected CNA, the seventh largest commercial insurer in the United States, to earn 4 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Sandy, which struck the northeast United States on Oct. 29, is the second-costliest catastrophe in the U.S. history, with insured loss estimates as high as $25 billion. The costliest was Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

(For a Factbox on initial Sandy-related loss estimates reported by insurers so far, click: )

Earlier this month, Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc, in which Loews has a 50 percent stake, said net income fell to $156 million, or $1.12 per share, from $188 million, or $1.36 per share, a year earlier.

Diamond Offshore, which accounts for about a quarter of Loews' revenue, warned that a number of its rigs would head into the shipyard for maintenance. Increasing spells of shipyard work have been a challenge for Diamond and its rivals over the past few years.

Loews said it booked a net investment loss of $6 million, compared with a profit of $16 million in the same quarter last year.

Total revenue rose 6 percent to $3.70 billion.

Shares of Loews, which has a market value of about $16.8 billion, closed at $43.85 on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday, while those of CNA Financial closed at $31.80.

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