Assured Guaranty Ltd. Reports Results for Third Quarter 2018
HAMILTON, Bermuda--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov 8, 2018--Assured Guaranty Ltd. (NYSE:AGO) (AGL and, together with its consolidated entities, Assured Guaranty or the Company) announced today its financial results for the three-month period ended September 30, 2018 (third quarter 2018).
(1) Please see “Explanation of Non-GAAP Financial Measures” at the end of this press release.
1 Please see “Explanation of Non-GAAP Financial Measures.” When a financial measure is described as “operating,” it is a non-GAAP financial measure.
“In the third quarter of 2018, we increased the company’s intrinsic value per share, measured as non-GAAP adjusted value per share, to a new high of $84.51 per share,” said Dominic Frederico, President and CEO of Assured Guaranty. “We saw positive activity in each of our financial guaranty businesses, leading the industry again in the U.S. public finance market, generating premiums in the international markets for the twelfth consecutive quarter, and continuing to close transactions and further develop opportunities in structured finance.”
Third Quarter Results
GAAP Financial Information
Net income for third quarter 2018 was $161 million, compared with $208 million for the three-month period ended September 30, 2017 (third quarter 2017). Excluding third quarter 2017 commutation gains, net income increased due mainly to lower loss and loss adjustment expenses (LAE), a fair value gain on the sale of an equity security and a lower effective tax rate, offset in part by lower premium accelerations, lower fair value gains on credit derivatives and foreign exchange losses in third quarter 2018.
Loss and LAE was $17 million in third quarter 2018, compared with $223 million in third quarter 2017. The losses in third quarter 2017 were composed primarily of increases in reserves for Puerto Rico exposures.
The Company recorded, in other income, a gain on change in fair value of equity securities of $32 million in third quarter 2018, including a gain of $31 million related to the Company’s minority interest in the parent company of TMC Bonds LLC, which it sold in third quarter 2018.
The effective tax rate was 8.3% for third quarter 2018, compared with an effective tax rate for third quarter 2017 of 33.6%. The effective tax rate for third quarter 2018 represents a lower corporate tax rate than third quarter 2017 and includes a release of reserves for uncertain tax positions. The effective tax rate fluctuates from quarter to quarter based on the proportion of income in different tax jurisdictions.
Net earned premiums in third quarter 2018 were $142 million, compared with $186 million in third quarter 2017. The decline in net earned premiums was attributable mainly to reduced refunding activity. Accelerations due to refundings and terminations were $40 million in third quarter 2018, compared with $87 million in third quarter 2017. Third quarter 2018 reflects the elimination of the tax-exempt status of advance refunding bonds, as well as the reduction in the insured portfolio subject to a call provision.
Fair value gains on credit derivatives were $21 million in third quarter 2018, compared with $58 million in third quarter 2017. Third quarter 2018 fair value gains were attributable primarily to price improvements on the underlying collateral of the Company’s insured credit default swaps, while third quarter 2017 gains were attributable primarily to the termination of several transactions, the runoff of net par outstanding and changes in the Company’s own credit risk. Except for credit impairment, the fair value adjustments on credit derivatives in the insured portfolio are non-economic adjustments that reverse to zero over the remaining term of that portfolio.
Foreign exchange gains and losses relate primarily to premiums receivable and are due mainly to changes in the exchange rate of the British pound sterling relative to the United States (U.S.) dollar. Third quarter 2018 foreign exchange losses were $9 million, compared with gains of $17 million in third quarter 2017.
Economic Loss Development
Total economic loss development was de minimis in third quarter 2018. Net economic development in U.S. residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) was a benefit of $40 million due to improved performance of the underlying collateral, while certain Puerto Rico exposures had increased expected losses. The economic development attributable to changes in discount rates was a benefit of $9 million in third quarter 2018.
(1) Economic loss development represents the change in net expected loss to be paid attributable to the effects of changes in assumptions based on observed market trends, changes in discount rates, accretion of discount and the economic effects of loss mitigation efforts. Economic loss development is the principal measure that the Company uses to evaluate the loss experience in its insured portfolio. Expected loss to be paid includes all transactions insured by the Company, whether written in insurance or credit derivative form, regardless of the accounting model prescribed under accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America (GAAP).
New Business Production
Financial guaranty GWP includes amounts collected upfront on new business written, the present value of future premiums on new business written (discounted at risk free rates), as well as the effects of changes in the estimated lives of transactions in the inforce book of business. Non-financial guaranty GWP is recorded as premiums are received. Non-GAAP PVP includes upfront premiums and future installments on new business as estimated at the time of issuance, discounted at 6% for all contracts.
(1) Please see “Explanation of Non-GAAP Financial Measures” at the end of this press release.
In the U.S. public finance sector, Assured Guaranty once again guaranteed the majority of insured par issued.
Outside the U.S. the Company closed three new transactions during the quarter: a guarantee of an accommodation project for Durham University; a restructuring of an existing guarantee with a bank; and the Company’s first post-financial crisis transaction in Australia, a guarantee of a bond issue for the Port of Brisbane. This is the twelfth consecutive quarter that the Company generated new business outside the U.S. Quarterly business activity in the international infrastructure sector is influenced by typically long lead times and therefore may vary from quarter to quarter.
In structured finance, the Company continued to execute transactions in the aviation and commercial real estate markets, and guaranteed a collateralized loan obligation for the first time since 2008.
Other Non-GAAP Financial Measures
Non-GAAP operating income was $161 million in third quarter 2018, compared with $156 million in third quarter 2017. Non-GAAP operating income in third quarter 2018 was higher than the comparable prior year primarily due to lower loss and LAE, the gain on sale of TMC Bonds LLC, and a lower effective tax rate, offset in part by lower commutation gains and lower net earned premiums from accelerations in third quarter 2018.
Common Share Repurchases
From 2013 through November 8, 2018, the Company repurchased a total of 92.7 million common shares at an average price of $28.52, representing approximately 48% of the total shares outstanding at the beginning of the repurchase program in 2013. On August 1, 2018, the Board of Directors approved an incremental $250 million share repurchase authorization. As of November 8, the Company was authorized to purchase $169 million of its common shares. These repurchases can be made from time to time in the open market or in privately negotiated transactions.
As in the past, the Company’s execution of its capital management strategy is contingent upon its available free cash and the capital position of the parent company, market conditions, the maintenance of its strong financial strength ratings and other factors. The repurchase program may be modified, extended or terminated by the Board of Directors at any time. It does not have an expiration date.
Explanation of Non-GAAP Financial Measures
To reflect the key financial measures that management analyzes in evaluating the Company’s operations and progress towards long-term goals, the Company discloses both financial measures determined in accordance with GAAP and financial measures not determined in accordance with GAAP (non-GAAP financial measures).
Financial measures identified as non-GAAP should not be considered substitutes for GAAP financial measures. The primary limitation of non-GAAP financial measures is the potential lack of comparability to financial measures of other companies, whose definitions of non-GAAP financial measures may differ from those of the Company.
By disclosing non-GAAP financial measures, the Company gives investors, analysts and financial news reporters access to information that management and the Board of Directors review internally. The Company believes its presentation of non-GAAP financial measures, along with the effect of FG VIE consolidation, provides information that is necessary for analysts to calculate their estimates of Assured Guaranty’s financial results in their research reports on Assured Guaranty and for investors, analysts and the financial news media to evaluate Assured Guaranty’s financial results.
GAAP requires the Company to consolidate certain VIEs that have issued debt obligations insured by the Company. However, the Company does not own such VIEs and its exposure is limited to its obligation under its financial guaranty insurance contract. Management and the Board of Directors use non-GAAP financial measures adjusted to remove FG VIE consolidation (which the Company refers to as its core financial measures), as well as GAAP financial measures and other factors, to evaluate the Company’s results of operations, financial condition and progress towards long-term goals. The Company uses these core financial measures in its decision making process and in its calculation of certain components of management compensation. Wherever possible, the Company has separately disclosed the effect of FG VIE consolidation.
Many investors, analysts and financial news reporters use non-GAAP operating shareholders’ equity, adjusted to remove the effect of FG VIE consolidation, as the principal financial measure for valuing AGL’s current share price or projected share price and also as the basis of their decision to recommend, buy or sell AGL’s common shares. Many of the Company’s fixed income investors also use this measure to evaluate the Company’s capital adequacy.
Many investors, analysts and financial news reporters also use non-GAAP adjusted book value, adjusted to remove the effect of FG VIE consolidation, to evaluate AGL’s share price and as the basis of their decision to recommend, buy or sell the AGL common shares. Non-GAAP operating income adjusted for the effect of FG VIE consolidation enables investors and analysts to evaluate the Company’s financial results in comparison with the consensus analyst estimates distributed publicly by financial databases.
The core financial measures that the Company uses to help determine compensation are: (1) non-GAAP operating income, adjusted to remove the effect of FG VIE consolidation, (2) non-GAAP operating shareholders’ equity, adjusted to remove the effect of FG VIE consolidation, (3) growth in non-GAAP adjusted book value per share, adjusted to remove the effect of FG VIE consolidation, and (4) PVP.
The following paragraphs and tables define each non-GAAP financial measure disclosed by the Company and describe why it is useful. A reconciliation of the non-GAAP financial measure and the most directly comparable GAAP financial measure is presented below.
Non-GAAP Operating Income
Management believes that non-GAAP operating income is a useful measure because it clarifies the understanding of the underwriting results and financial condition of the Company and presents the results of operations of the Company excluding the fair value adjustments on credit derivatives and CCS that are not expected to result in economic gain or loss, as well as other adjustments described below. Management adjusts non-GAAP operating income further by removing FG VIE consolidation to arrive at its core operating income measure. Non-GAAP operating income is defined as net income (loss) attributable to AGL, as reported under GAAP, adjusted for the following:
1) Elimination of realized gains (losses) on the Company’s investments, except for gains and losses on securities classified as trading. The timing of realized gains and losses, which depends largely on market credit cycles, can vary considerably across periods. The timing of sales is largely subject to the Company’s discretion and influenced by market opportunities, as well as the Company’s tax and capital profile.
2) Elimination of non-credit-impairment unrealized fair value gains (losses) on credit derivatives that are recognized in net income, which is the amount of unrealized fair value gains (losses) in excess of the present value of the expected estimated economic credit losses, and non-economic payments. Such fair value adjustments are heavily affected by, and in part fluctuate with, changes in market interest rates, the Company’s credit spreads, and other market factors and are not expected to result in an economic gain or loss.
3) Elimination of fair value gains (losses) on the Company’s CCS that are recognized in net income. Such amounts are affected by changes in market interest rates, the Company’s credit spreads, price indications on the Company’s publicly traded debt, and other market factors and are not expected to result in an economic gain or loss.
4) Elimination of foreign exchange gains (losses) on remeasurement of net premium receivables and loss and LAE reserves that are recognized in net income. Long-dated receivables and loss and LAE reserves represent the present value of future contractual or expected cash flows. Therefore, the current period’s foreign exchange remeasurement gains (losses) are not necessarily indicative of the total foreign exchange gains (losses) that the Company will ultimately recognize.
5) Elimination of the tax effects related to the above adjustments, which are determined by applying the statutory tax rate in each of the jurisdictions that generate these adjustments.
(1) The “Non-GAAP Operating Income Adjustments” column represents the amounts recorded in the condensed consolidated statements of operations that the Company removes to arrive at non-GAAP operating income.
(2) The “Effect of FG VIE Consolidation” column represents the amounts included in the condensed consolidated statements of operations and non-GAAP operating income that the Company removes to arrive at the core financial measures that management uses in certain of its compensation calculations and its decision making process.
Non-GAAP Operating Shareholders’ Equity and Non-GAAP Adjusted Book Value
Management believes that non-GAAP operating shareholders’ equity is a useful measure because it presents the equity of the Company excluding the fair value adjustments on investments, credit derivatives and CCS, that are not expected to result in economic gain or loss, along with other adjustments described below. Management adjusts non-GAAP operating shareholders’ equity further by removing FG VIE consolidation to arrive at its core operating shareholders’ equity and core adjusted book value.
Non-GAAP operating shareholders’ equity is the basis of the calculation of non-GAAP adjusted book value (see below). Non-GAAP operating shareholders’ equity is defined as shareholders’ equity attributable to AGL, as reported under GAAP, adjusted for the following:
1) Elimination of non-credit-impairment unrealized fair value gains (losses) on credit derivatives, which is the amount of unrealized fair value gains (losses) in excess of the present value of the expected estimated economic credit losses, and non-economic payments. Such fair value adjustments are heavily affected by, and in part fluctuate with, changes in market interest rates, credit spreads and other market factors and are not expected to result in an economic gain or loss.
2) Elimination of fair value gains (losses) on the Company’s CCS. Such amounts are affected by changes in market interest rates, the Company’s credit spreads, price indications on the Company’s publicly traded debt, and other market factors and are not expected to result in an economic gain or loss.
3) Elimination of unrealized gains (losses) on the Company’s investments that are recorded as a component of accumulated other comprehensive income (AOCI) (excluding foreign exchange remeasurement). The AOCI component of the fair value adjustment on the investment portfolio is not deemed economic because the Company generally holds these investments to maturity and therefore should not recognize an economic gain or loss.
4) Elimination of the tax effects related to the above adjustments, which are determined by applying the statutory tax rate in each of the jurisdictions that generate these adjustments.
Management uses non-GAAP adjusted book value, adjusted for FG VIE consolidation, to measure the intrinsic value of the Company, excluding franchise value. Growth in non-GAAP adjusted book value per share, adjusted for FG VIE consolidation (core adjusted book value), is one of the key financial measures used in determining the amount of certain long-term compensation elements to management and employees and used by rating agencies and investors. Management believes that non-GAAP adjusted book value is a useful measure because it enables an evaluation of the Company’s in-force premiums and revenues net of expected losses. Non-GAAP adjusted book value is non-GAAP operating shareholders’ equity, as defined above, further adjusted for the following:
1) Elimination of deferred acquisition costs, net. These amounts represent net deferred expenses that have already been paid or accrued and will be expensed in future accounting periods.
2) Addition of the net present value of estimated net future revenue on non-financial guaranty contracts. See below.
3) Addition of the deferred premium revenue on financial guaranty contracts in excess of expected loss to be expensed, net of reinsurance. This amount represents the expected future net earned premiums, net of expected losses to be expensed, which are not reflected in GAAP equity.
4) Elimination of the tax effects related to the above adjustments, which are determined by applying the statutory tax rate in each of the jurisdictions that generate these adjustments.
The unearned premiums and revenues included in non-GAAP adjusted book value will be earned in future periods, but actual earnings may differ materially from the estimated amounts used in determining current non-GAAP adjusted book value due to changes in foreign exchange rates, prepayment speeds, terminations, credit defaults and other factors.
Net Present Value of Estimated Net Future Revenue
Management believes that this amount is a useful measure because it enables an evaluation of the value of future estimated revenue for non-financial guaranty insurance contracts. There is no corresponding GAAP financial measure. This amount represents the present value of estimated future revenue from the Company’s non-financial guaranty insurance contracts, net of reinsurance, ceding commissions and premium taxes, for contracts without expected economic losses, and is discounted at 6%. Estimated net future revenue may change from period to period due to changes in foreign exchange rates, prepayment speeds, terminations, credit defaults or other factors that affect par outstanding or the ultimate maturity of an obligation.
PVP or Present Value of New Business Production
Management believes that PVP is a useful measure because it enables the evaluation of the value of new business production for the Company by taking into account the value of estimated future installment premiums on all new contracts underwritten in a reporting period as well as premium supplements and additional installment premium on existing contracts as to which the issuer has the right to call the insured obligation but has not exercised such right, whether in insurance or credit derivative contract form, which management believes GAAP gross written premiums and the net credit derivative premiums received and receivable portion of net realized gains and other settlements on credit derivatives (Credit Derivative Realized Gains (Losses)) do not adequately measure. PVP in respect of contracts written in a specified period is defined as gross upfront and installment premiums received and the present value of gross estimated future installment premiums, discounted, in each case, at 6%. Under GAAP, financial guaranty installment premiums are discounted at a risk free rate. Additionally, under GAAP, management records future installment premiums on financial guaranty insurance contracts covering non-homogeneous pools of assets based on the contractual term of the transaction, whereas for PVP purposes, management records an estimate of the future installment premiums the Company expects to receive, which may be based upon a shorter period of time than the contractual term of the transaction. Actual future earned or written premiums and Credit Derivative Realized Gains (Losses) may differ from PVP due to factors including, but not limited to, changes in foreign exchange rates, prepayment speeds, terminations, credit defaults, or other factors that affect par outstanding or the ultimate maturity of an obligation.
(1) Includes present value of new business on installment policies discounted at the prescribed GAAP discount rates, GWP adjustments on existing installment policies due to changes in assumptions, any cancellations of assumed reinsurance contracts, and other GAAP adjustments.
Conference Call and Webcast Information
The Company will host a conference call for investors at 8:00 a.m. Eastern Time (9:00 a.m. Atlantic Time) on Friday, November 9, 2018. The conference call will be available via live and archived webcast in the Investor Information section of the Company’s website at AssuredGuaranty.com or by dialing 1-877-281-1545 (in the U.S.) or 1-412-902-6609 (International). A replay of the call will be made available through February 8, 2019. To listen to the replay, dial 1-877-344-7529 (in the U.S.) or 1-412-317-0088 (International), passcode 10125893. The replay will be available one hour after the conference call ends.
Please refer to Assured Guaranty’s September 30, 2018 Financial Supplement, which is posted on the Company’s website at assuredguaranty.com/investor-information/by-company/assured-guaranty-ltd, for more information on the Company’s financial guaranty portfolio, investment portfolio and other items. The Company is also posting on the same page of its website:“Public Finance Transactions in 3Q 2018,” which lists the U.S. public finance new issues insured by the Company in third quarter 2018, and “Structured Finance Transactions at September 30, 2018,” which lists the Company’s structured finance exposure as of that date.
In addition, the Company is posting at assuredguaranty.com/presentations the “September 30, 2018 Equity Investor Presentation.” Furthermore, the Company’s separate-company subsidiary financial supplements and its Fixed Income Presentation for the current quarter will be posted on the Company’s website when available. Those documents will be furnished to the Securities and Exchange Commission in a Current Report on Form 8-K.
Assured Guaranty Ltd. is a publicly traded (NYSE: AGO) Bermuda-based holding company. Its operating subsidiaries provide credit enhancement products to the U.S. and international public finance, infrastructure and structured finance markets. More information on Assured Guaranty Ltd. and its subsidiaries can be found at AssuredGuaranty.com.
Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
Any forward-looking statements made in this press release reflect the Company’s current views with respect to future events and financial performance and are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements involve risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from those set forth in these statements. For example, Assured Guaranty’s calculations of non-GAAP adjusted book value, PVP, net present value of estimated future installment premiums in force and total estimated net future premium earnings and statements regarding its capital position and demand for its insurance and other forward-looking statements could be affected by reduction in the amount of available insurance opportunities and/or in the demand for Assured Guaranty’s insurance; rating agency action, including a ratings downgrade, a change in outlook, the placement of ratings on watch for downgrade, or a change in rating criteria, at any time, of AGL or any of its subsidiaries, and/or of any securities AGL or any of its subsidiaries have issued, and/or of transactions that AGL’s subsidiaries have insured; developments in the world’s financial and capital markets that adversely affect obligors’ payment rates or Assured Guaranty’s loss experience; the possibility that budget or pension shortfalls or other factors will result in credit losses or impairments on obligations of state, territorial and local governments and their related authorities and public corporations that Assured Guaranty insures or reinsures; the failure of Assured Guaranty to realize loss recoveries that are assumed in its expected loss estimates; increased competition, including from new entrants into the financial guaranty industry; rating agency action on obligors, including sovereign debtors, resulting in a reduction in the value of securities in Assured Guaranty’s investment portfolio and in collateral posted by and to Assured Guaranty; the inability of Assured Guaranty to access external sources of capital on acceptable terms; changes in the world’s credit markets, segments thereof, interest rates or general economic conditions; the impact of market volatility on the mark-to-market of Assured Guaranty’s contracts written in credit default swap form; changes in applicable accounting policies or practices; changes in applicable laws or regulations, including insurance, bankruptcy and tax laws, or other governmental actions; the impact of changes in the world’s economy and credit and currency markets and in applicable laws or regulations relating to the decision of the United Kingdom to exit the European Union; the possibility that acquisitions or alternative investments made by Assured Guaranty do not result in the benefits anticipated or subject Assured Guaranty to unanticipated consequences; deterioration in the financial condition of Assured Guaranty’s reinsurers, the amount and timing of reinsurance recoverables actually received and the risk that reinsurers may dispute amounts owed to Assured Guaranty under its reinsurance agreements; difficulties with the execution of Assured Guaranty’s business strategy; loss of key personnel; the effects of mergers, acquisitions and divestitures; natural or man-made catastrophes; other risk factors identified in AGL’s filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission; other risks and uncertainties that have not been identified at this time; and management’s response to these factors. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are made as of November 8, 2018, and Assured Guaranty undertakes no obligation to update publicly or review any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise, except as required by law.
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CONTACT: Assured Guaranty Ltd.
Robert Tucker, 212-339-0861
Senior Managing Director, Investor Relations and Corporate Communications
Ashweeta Durani, 212-408-6042
Vice President, Corporate Communications
KEYWORD: UNITED STATES BERMUDA NORTH AMERICA CARIBBEAN NEW YORK
INDUSTRY KEYWORD: PROFESSIONAL SERVICES BANKING FINANCE INSURANCE
SOURCE: Assured Guaranty Ltd.
Copyright Business Wire 2018.
PUB: 11/08/2018 04:10 PM/DISC: 11/08/2018 04:10 PM