Loews Smashes Expectations With First Quarter Earnings as CNA, Boardwalk Units’ Sales Advance

Loews (L) reported better-than-expected earnings with growth in revenue for its first quarter, as the conglomerate with interests in hotels, entertainment, energy and packaging reported a stronger performance in its insurance and natural gas units.

Earnings jumped to $1.27 a share from $0.89 a share previously, while the consensus on Capital IQ was for $0.96 a share. Revenue rose to $3.76 billion from $3.58 billion a year ago. Analysts’ estimates weren’t immediately available.

Net income rose year-on-year on higher earnings, with contributions from the CNA Financial (CNA) insurance unit where revenue rose to $2.7 billion from $2.5 billion previously. Loews also reported higher revenue — $346 million from $337 million — in its Boardwalk Pipeline Partners subsidiary, which transports and stores natural gas.

In Diamond Offshore Drilling (DO), one of Loews’ subsidiaries, revenue slowed to $233.5 million from $295.5 million, but that still topped Capital IQ views for $231.9 million, the company said in a separate statement. The subsidiary’s adjusted loss was $0.53 a share, narrower than the $0.59 loss expected.

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“Diamond Offshore’s results declined due to continuing challenging market conditions,” Loews said. “Boardwalk Pipeline’s operations improved due to higher earnings from firm transportation contracts mainly due to growth projects recently placed into service, partially offset by contract restructuring and expirations as well as lower storage and parking and lending revenues.”

Sales from Loews Hotels dipped to $180 million from $183 million a year earlier. An improved operating performance at “several owned hotels was offset by pre-opening expenses incurred at hotels under development and a charge related to the planned disposition of a property.”

Loews also said that from April 1 to 26, it repurchased one million shares for $47 million, after buying back $322 million, or 6.8 million shares, in the first quarter.