Feb 19 Fidelity National Financial Inc's
quarterly profit beat estimates as it earned more premium from
its title insurance business.
Title insurance guarantees that property owners have title
to property and can legally transfer that title. Many lenders
require that buyers have the insurance before extending loans.
Low interest rates have prompted more Americans to buy homes
again after the U.S. housing market fell into a deep rut five
years ago due to the financial crisis.
Sales of new U.S. single-family homes rose last year to the
highest level since 2009, a sign the troubled U.S. housing
market has turned a corner.
Fidelity National's revenue rose 75 percent to $2.23 billion
while title premium for the quarter rose 28 percent to $1.12
Net profit fell to $151.8 million, or 66 cents per share,
for the quarter ended Dec. 31, from $172.7 million, or 78 cents
per share, a year earlier due to rise in operating expenses
related to the company's restaurant business.
Analysts on average had expected earnings of 60 cents per
share on revenue of $2.17 billion, according to Thomson Reuters
The No. 1 U.S. property title insurer's revenue for
restaurant business, which owns O'Charley's, Ninety Nine, Max
and Erma's and Village Inn, was $358.5 million.
Apart from its restaurant holdings, the company has a
minority stake in electrical components maker Remy International
Inc and human resources company Ceridian Corp.
Shares of the Jacksonville, Florida-based company, which has
risen more than 45 percent in the last year, were up 4 percent
after the bell. They closed at $25.59 on the New York Stock
Exchange on Tuesday.