In an effort to boost shareholder value, the board of directors of RenaissanceRe Holdings Limited (RNR) approved an increase in the company’s share buyback program. However, the news did not have much impact on the shares of the company as share price declined marginally by 0.25% to $94.20 on Nov 15, 2013.
With this increase, the company’s total authorization currently stands at $500 million. This repurchase program has no expiry date.
The aforementioned program is an extension to the previous authorization under which RenaissanceRe was left with $489.2 million for repurchases. Previously in Aug 2013, RenaissanceRe had approved a renewal of its share repurchase program which brought the total authorization to $500 million. During the last reported quarter, the company purchased 0.22 million shares for $18.9 million.
RenaissanceRe’s financial strength allows it to continue with its buyback program. As of Sep 30, 2013, cash and cash equivalents stood at $266.4 million and cash from operations stood at $385.8 million.
RenaissanceRe delivered operating earnings per share of $3.36 in the third quarter of 2013, higher than the year-ago earnings of $2.07 per share. Share buybacks should boost the bottom line further. The Zacks Consensus Estimates for 2013 is currently $11.09, representing a 40.79% improvement from the year-ago period.
Additionally, the company declared a quarterly dividend of 28 cents per share payable on Dec 31, 2013 to shareholders of record as of Dec 13, 2013. RenaissanceRe has maintained a steady dividend payout, including $36.96 million paid in the first nine months of 2013.
The company continues to focus on improving revenues, expanding margins and fortifying its capital structure.
RenaissanceRe currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). However, among others in the property and casualty insurance space that are worth considering, Cincinnati Financial Corp. (CINF), Montpelier Re Holdings Ltd. (MRH) and Navigators Group Inc. (NAVG) carry a favorable Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).
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