Stewart Achieves All-Time Revenue, Earnings Per Share and Earnings Records
October 25, 2002
HOUSTON, /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Stewart Information Services Corporation (NYSE: STC - News) reported all-time record highs for revenues, earnings, earnings per share and orders for any quarter in the history of the company. Earnings for the three months ended September 30, 2002 were $21.6 million compared to $13.0 million for the third quarter of 2001. On a diluted per share basis, net earnings were $1.22 for the third quarter of 2002 compared to $.78 for the third quarter of 2001. Revenues in the third quarter increased 39 percent to $473 million from $340 million in the same period last year.
For the nine months ended September 30, 2002, Stewart earned $50.7 million, or $2.84 per diluted share, compared to $31.5 million, or $1.99 per diluted share, for the same nine-month period in 2001. Revenues year-to-date increased from a year ago by 36 percent to $1.2 billion.
Title orders in the third quarter of 2002 were 248,000, an all-time high for any quarter in the company's history. Orders for the month and quarter ended September 30, 2002 were 66 percent and 57 percent higher, respectively, than the same periods a year ago, boding well for the fourth quarter.
"Robust housing demand and all-time high refinance volume driven by an ongoing low interest rate environment continue to produce strong earnings," said Stewart Morris, Jr., president and co-chief executive officer. "The higher-margin commercial business continues to recover with volume having increased significantly over the same period last year in closings and transactions pending. Our decision to hire key people in 2000 in the commercial arena is reaping significant benefits.
"We are excited that SureClose®, Stewart's e-delivery and e-commerce platform, is now out of beta testing and being actively rolled out. We already have more than 78 offices with this platform. SureClose is an electronic transaction folder facilitating communication to all parties of a real estate transaction. All parties to the transaction are able to track the closing process, receive electronic notification of scheduled and completed events and view documents prior to closing, 24-hours a day, seven days a week. This Internet-based e-commerce site saves time, reduces expenses, streamlines the closing process and helps build solid long-term business relations with our customers," said Stewart Morris, Jr.
"Our majority interest in the electronic real estate auction company, RealtyBid.com, provides a unique venue for sellers of real estate to efficiently and cost effectively sell property," said Malcolm S. Morris, chairman and co-chief executive officer. "We believe that this transaction medium has a substantial growth potential and drives business to our company for title insurance, closing and escrow services, flood certificates and electronically delivered closing documents.
"Online Documents, Inc., (ODI), Stewart's electronic document company, enables lenders to close loans with digital signatures and deliver the loans to the secondary market. This past quarter ODI announced the availability of three-part XHTML documents, meeting Fannie Mae's advanced delivery requirements and specifications," added Malcolm Morris.
Source: Stewart Information Services Corporation
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