Aspen Insurance Holdings continues as Endurance Specialty Holdings’ hotly coveted takeover target. In the meantime, the Bermuda reinsurance and insurance player made its case to investors that it is building strong results, progress and value.
During a May 20 investor presentation, Aspen and its executives emphasized its status as a “leading, diversified specialty insurer and reinsurer” with $2.7 billion in gross written premium for the year ending March 31, 2014. The company highlighted its strong balance sheet and ratings, as well as its “strategic plan” and other initiatives.
Aspen, in a release outlining some key points of the investor presentation, noted that the restructuring of its ceded reinsurance and retrocessional programs should produce a $25 million benefit for net income in 2014, and $20 million more a year later. The company has also successfully repurchased $341 million of ordinary shares from the beginning of 2013 through March 31, 2014. This process will continue.
Investors were also encouraged to anticipate gains in Aspen’s U.S. specialty insurance platform, a division now nearly built out, following an initial $150 million investment in 2009. Today, Aspen said, it has produced an underwriting profit in the previous five quarters and should hit $550 million in net earned premiums in 2015.
In short, CEO Chris O’Kane said in a statement, Aspen is on the verge of producing gains from years of investments and should be able to give investors the returns they have been looking for.
“Aspen is at an inflection point where the significant investments we have made over the past several years are now paying off,” O’Kane said. “As a result, we are well positioned to achieve our 10 percent [return on investment] operating objective in 2014 and to deliver on our expectation” that the numbers will increase further in 2015.
Aspen may simply be asserting its independence to Endurance, or subtly sending the message that its worth as an M&A target is more than Endurance has offered. In April, Endurance made a $3.2 billion bid for its Bermuda based competitor, but Aspen’s board unanimously rejected the offer and has expressed “serious concerns” with the proposal. Meanwhile, Endurance has said it will continue to try to engage Aspen in negotiations, a dialogue Endurance insisted recently that shareholders of both companies are looking for.