Fidelity National Financial (FNF)
reported a second-quarter profit of $80, or 36 cents a share, down 42.6% from the year-ago period in the absence of a large one-time gain a year ago.
Last year's second-quarter income of $139.6 million, or 61 cents, included approximately a $63 million after-tax gain, or 27 cents per share, from the sale of Sedgwick CMS
in May 2010.
Still, the company beat analysts' estimates of 31 cents a share.
Total revenue was $1.32 billion for 2Q, down from $1.5 billion in the year-ago quarter. Cash flow from operations stood at $30.2 million, down from $136 million a year ago.
The title group had revenue of $1.2 billion, down from $1.28 billion a year ago but pre-tax earnings for the period were $140.6 million, up from $124 million in 2Q 2010.
"Despite a continued sluggish real estate environment, we were able to generate an impressive 11.7% pre-tax margin in our title business, a 200 basis-point increase over the prior year and a sequential increase of 240 basis points from the first quarter of this year," said Fidelity National Chairman William Foley II.
"While refinance orders represented 51% of closed order volumes this quarter versus 46% in the prior year, we still produced a 5% increase in the fee per file," he said, adding that much of that is attributable to the strength of Fidelity's commercial business.
Fidelity National generated nearly $94 million in commercial revenue in the second quarter, a 38% increase over the prior year. The commercial business produced a fee per file increase of 26% over both the prior year quarter and the first quarter of this year.
The title insurance firm also said the impact of cost-reduction initiatives contributed to its pre-tax title margin.
Fidelity recently announced the sale of its flood insurance business for approximately $210 million. Capital from that sale will be redeployed into other areas if the company, Foley said.
Write to Kerry Curry
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