LandAmerica Delays Third Quarter Earnings
In a move that is raising a few eyebrows in the real estate space, LandAmerica Financial Group, Inc. (LFG) said Wednesday after market close that it would delay the release of its third quarter 2008 results, and cancel its investor call; the title insurance company was scheduled to report earnings yesterday. In a statement, the company said that its "release has been delayed to allow LandAmerica additional time to complete the preparation and review of its financial statements," but did not provide further details. The title insurer and services provider said it expected it would file its quarterly report by Nov 10. LandAm reported a net loss of $50 million, or $3.29 per share, during the second quarter. Analysts at RBC Capital Markets downgraded the company's stock to "sector perform" from a previous outperform rating on Oct. 21. It's unclear why the report was delayed, but some unnamed sources suggested to a Richmond, Va.-based news service on Thursday that "the quarterly report will be damaging and far worse than the second quarter loss." An increase in losses may come in the form of a sharp decline in direct closings, or perhaps in goodwill impairment, a few sources have suggested to HousingWire. ($800 million of the company's roughly $1 billion in equity is in the form of goodwill, the result of premiums paid for the acquisitions of other title companies made in 2005 and 2006.) Competitors The First American Corp. (FAF) and Fidelity National Financial Corp. (FNF) both reported quarterly losses last week, as title orders have continued to dry up; both companies saw direct title orders fall roughly 23 percent year-over-year. Write to Paul Jackson at email@example.com. Disclosure: The author held no relevant investment positions when this story was published. Indirect holdings may exist via mutual fund investments. HW reporters and writers follow a strict disclosure policy, the first in the mortgage trade.