Markel Corp. (NYSE: MKL) released its Q1 2016 earnings and is “off to a strong start” as pointed out Executive Chairman Alan I. Kirshner.
Book value per common share outstanding came in at $589.86 at March 31, 2016, up 5% from $561.23 at December 31, 2015.
Comprehensive income to shareholders was $397.0 million for the first quarter of 2016 up 41% compared to $281.8 million for the first quarter of 2015.
The combined ratio was 88% for the first quarter of 2016 slightly up compared to 83% for the first quarter of 2015, due to a 5 points less favorable development in the prior accident year loss ratio in 2016 compared to 2015.
“Our first quarter results were very strong and are in many ways a continuation of the trend that we saw in 2015 with our investing, underwriting, and Markel Ventures operations all contributing to our success” pointed out CFO Anne Waleski on the call.
Total operating revenues grew 6% to just under $1.4 billion in 2016 from $1.3 billion in 2015. The increase is driven by a roughly 18% increase in revenue from Markel Ventures.
“On the investment side, Markel earned 3.6% on the equity investments and 2.4% on the fixed income holdings with a total return from the portfolio of 3.1%”, explained CIO Tom Gayner.
Equities represented 52% of shareholders’ equity at the end of the first quarter.
No wonder that investors liked what they saw and Markel’s stock briefly jumped up to $950.
At yesterday’s close of $937 Markel’s stock is valued at a book value/share of 1.6 which can be considered as fairly valued.
But Markel’s stock is a buy at any weakness considering their strong ability to create shareholder value powered by “three engines”, the insurance operations, the investment activities, and Markel Ventures!