Zenith National Insurance Corp. said Thursday its fourth-quarter net income dropped 79 percent as net premiums fell and the value of its investment portfolio declined.
The Woodland Hills workers’ comp insurer reported net income of $8.4 million (22 cents per share), compared with $39.6 million ($1.06) a year ago. Total revenue fell 24 percent to nearly $155 million. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial, on average expected earnings of 71 cents per share.
The results include net realized post tax losses on investments of $7.7 million, compared with $2.9 million in the same period a year ago. Total workers’ comp net premiums fell nearly 19 percent, the company said, reflecting a rate reduction, increased competition and smaller payrolls by client companies hurt by the recession.
For the full year, Zenith Insurance earned $95.3 million ($2.55), compared with earnings of nearly $234 million ($6.27) in 2007.
“Considering the recession and volatility of financial markets, we are encouraged by our 2008 results,” said Chairman Stanley R. Zax in a statement. “Excluding the impact of our investment portfolio, stockholders’ equity per share was essentially unchanged.”
Zenith reported earnings a few hours after the market opened. Shares closed down $2.59, or 8 percent, to $30.36 on the New York Stock Exchange.