October 31, 2011 / 11:07 AM / 8 years ago

Catastrophe losses weigh on Loews

(Reuters) - Loews Corp (L.N), run by the billionaire Tisch family, posted quarterly earnings below analysts’ estimates for the third time in a row, hurt by a fall in its investment income and higher catastrophe losses at its biggest holding CNA Financial (CNA.N).

The company, which has interests ranging from insurance and luxury hotels to energy exploration and natural gas pipelines, said net investment income for the third quarter almost halved to $333 million from the year ago.

Catastrophe losses at CNA, in which Loews has a 90 percent stake, were $32 million after-tax, compared with $8 million a year ago.

Most insurers, including rivals Chubb Corp (CB.N) and Travelers (TRV.N), have seen their profits dented by high catastrophe losses due to Hurricane Irene.

Net income attributable to Loews rose to $162 million, or 40 cents per share, from $36 million, or 9 cents per share, a year ago.

Revenue fell 7 percent to $3.43 billion.

Analysts, on average, had expected earnings of 66 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

CNA posted a profit of $75 million, or 28 cents a share, compared with a loss of $140 million, or 59 cents per share, a year ago. Net operating income was 34 cents a share.

Analysts had expected CNA to earn 24 cents a share.

Earlier in the month, Diamond Offshore, in which Loews has a 50.4 percent stake, reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit, helped by higher dayrates and utilization for its deepwater rigs.

Loews said it had repurchased shares worth $690 million for the nine months ended September.

Shares of Loews, which has a market value of $16.74 billion, closed at $41.28 on Friday on the New York Stock Exchange. They have gained almost 25 percent from a year-low of $32.91 earlier this month. Shares of CNA last closed at $26.13.

Reporting by Tanya Agrawal and Sharanya Hrishikesh in Bangalore; Editing by Maju Samuel, Saumyadeb Chakrabarty

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