* Insurer falls to $571 mln loss on equity hedges
* Company to maintain equity hedges
* Fairfax leading consortium bidding for BlackBerry
TORONTO, Oct 31 Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd
, the Canadian property and casualty insurer run by
investment guru Prem Watsa, said on Thursday it fell to a
third-quarter loss due to equity hedges that lost money in a
The Toronto-based company, which is leading a $4.7 billion
bid for smartphone maker Blackberry, posted a net loss
of $571.7 million, or $29.02 a share, for the quarter ended
Sept. 30. That compared with a year-earlier profit of $33.4
million, or 84 cents a share.
The company lost a net $828.6 million on investments during
the quarter as rising markets hurt the value of its equity
hedges. That compared to a year-earlier net investment loss of
Fairfax Chief Executive Watsa hedged the company's stock
portfolio in 2010, convinced that global equity markets had
further to fall.
He said Fairfax would maintain its equity hedges due to
concerns about financial markets and the economic outlook.
"We continue to believe that the mark to market losses will
reverse in the future," Watsa said in a statement.
Since taking over the company in 1985, Watsa has built a
reputation as a shrewd investor by moves such as betting against
the U.S. housing market and then reaping huge profits when the
market collapsed five years ago.
Recently, he's been a major buyer of BlackBerry stock, and
announced last month that Fairfax was leading a consortium
bidding $9 a share for the smartphone maker.
BlackBerry's shares have declined since then, and fell 3
percent to C$8.23 on Thursday on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
Fairfax shares slipped 1 percent to C$455.
Fairfax's earnings statement did not mention the bid.