Appraisal, Default Services Push First Am’s Profits

Real estate data provider and insurance firm First American Corp. (FAF) earned $70.3m ($0.75 per share) in Q209, from $19.6m in Q208. The company’s information and outsourcing solutions sector showed strong growth, with revenue up 34% to $259.7m from Q208. The increase was due in part to an increased volume of appraisal services and default servicing. Despite the boom in net income, First American’s $1.5bn in total revenue was down 9% from the year-ago quarter as its title insurance, data and analytics and risk mitigation and business sectors all reported lower revenue from Q208. Revenue in the company’s title insurance and services sector was down 16% to $935.3m from Q208. First American said it closed 438,100 title orders in Q209, up 9% from the year-ago quarter. But while volume for title orders was up, the average revenue per title order closed was down to $1,302, an 18% decline from Q208. First American’s profits were lessened by realized investment losses of $13.1m from its specialty insurance and title insurance and services sectors, and $32.4m in costs associated from employee layoffs and company restructuring. Layoffs narrowed personnel costs by 18%. Write to Austin Kilgore. Disclaimer: The reporter held no relevant investments at the time this story was published.

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