Fidelity National Title Group, Inc. Reports Fourth Quarter 2005 EPS of $0.73
Jacksonville, Fla. -- (February 8, 2006) -- Fidelity National Title Group, Inc. (NYSE: FNT), the nation's largest title insurance company and a majority-owned, publicly-traded subsidiary of Fidelity National Financial, Inc. (NYSE: FNF), today reported operating results for the three-month and twelve-month periods ended December 31, 2005.
"We had some significant accomplishments at Fidelity National Title Group during 2005," said Chairman of the Board William P. Foley, II. "In FNF's continuing efforts to maximize the value of its assets, create shareholder value and provide greater transparency to the investment community, we completed the distribution of the stock of Fidelity National Title Group to FNF shareholders in October. FNF distributed 17.5 percent of the stock, or approximately 30.4 million shares, of FNT to existing FNF shareholders, while retaining the remaining 82.5% ownership stake. FNT is now operating as a majority-owned, publicly-traded subsidiary of FNF. We have also made FNT unique among its title insurance peers by paying a significant cash dividend. Today, the FNT Board of Directors authorized a 16% increase in the annual cash dividend to $1.16, a 4.9% current yield. We believe this significant dividend increase is a strong statement about the future earnings power of FNT, particularly heading into what most expect to be a slowing mortgage market in 2006.
"This quarter was a solid finish to an exciting year for Fidelity National Title Group," said Chief Executive Officer Raymond R. Quirk. "Our full-year 2005 revenue of more than $6.3 billion was a record performance, exceeding both the significant refinance driven years of 2003 and 2004. We also broadened our capabilities through two significant acquisitions in 2005. The first, Service Link, provides FNT and its title insurance subsidiaries with centralized title and closing capabilities and improved direct access to national lender accounts for both refinance transactions and emerging lender-driven purchase transactions. The second, the Land Trust business assets of LaSalle Bank, made us the largest provider of land trustee services in the Eastern United States through our subsidiary Chicago Title Land Trust Company. Land trusts are trust arrangements utilized in the ownership of real estate."
"Operationally, we focused on headcount reductions in the second half of 2005, reducing headcount by nearly 1,300 employees during the fourth quarter, as we saw open order levels seasonally slow down as year-end approached. From early August through year-end, we reduced headcount by nearly 1,400 employees, or approximately 9% of our title workforce. As we head into 2006, we know that the first quarter is usually the slowest quarter for the title industry so we will remain focused on maintaining our operating margins and returns through further headcount reductions and strict operating cost controls."
The following table depicts monthly direct orders opened and closed in the title and escrow business for the fourth quarter of both 2005 and 2004:
The following table depicts monthly commercial direct orders opened and closed in the title and escrow business for the fourth quarter of both 2005 and 2004:
Company's title insurance underwriters Fidelity National Title, Chicago Title, Ticor Title, Security Union Title and Alamo Title issue approximately 31 percent of all title insurance policies in the United States. Through its direct operations and agencies, the Company provides title insurance in 49 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Mexico, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Canada. In 2005, FNT also acquired Service Link, a leading provider of title and closing services to major financial institutions and lenders, including six of the top 10 lending institutions in the United States ranked by loan origination volume. More information about Fidelity National Title Group can be found at www.fntg.com
FNT is a majority-owned subsidiary of Fidelity National Financial Inc., number 261 on the Fortune 500 and a provider of products and outsourced services and solutions to a variety of industries. More information about FNF can be found at www.fnf.com.
This press release contains statements related to future events and expectations and, as such, constitutes forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results, performance or achievements of the Company to be different from those expressed or implied above. The Company expressly disclaims any duty to update or revise forward-looking statements. The risks and uncertainties which forward-looking statements are subject to include, but are not limited to, the effect of governmental regulations, the economy, competition and other risks detailed from time to time in the "Management's Discussion and Analysis" section of the Company's Form 10-K and other reports and filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
SOURCE: Fidelity National Title Group, Inc.
CONTACT: Daniel Kennedy Murphy, Senior Vice President, Finance and
Investor Relations, Fidelity National Financial, Inc., 904-854-8120, firstname.lastname@example.org