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Aspen announces higher estimated 2nd-quarter earnings


Aspen Insurance Holdings Ltd. on Thursday reported higher estimated earnings per share in a preannouncement of its second-quarter results.

The Hamilton, Bermuda-based underwriter is locked in a hostile takeover battle with Endurance Specialty Holdings Ltd. Endurance launched the takeover bid in April with a $3.2 billion cash-and-stock bid that Aspen quickly rejected.

This week Endurance sent a letter to Aspen stockholders urging them to support the takeover. Aspen fired back Thursday with a letter calling on shareholders to reject the takeover bid.

Aspen will formally release its second-quarter results on July 23. In the preliminary earnings announcement, Aspen said it expects diluted net earnings of between $1.70 and $1.75 per share. The comparable figure for the second quarter of 2013 was $0.36 per share.

Aspen said it expects gross written premiums for the quarter to range between $775 million and $780 million. Gross written premiums for the second quarter of 2013 stood at $687.3 million. Aspen also said it expects its combined ratio for the second quarter of 2014 to be between 90.0% and 91.0%. The combined ratio for the second quarter of 2013 was 97.1%.

“Our continued strong performance during the second quarter — following an excellent first quarter — clearly demonstrates the continued benefits of the strategic investments we have made in our business and the strength of our plan to drive shareholder value,” said Aspen in its July 10 letter urging rejection of the Endurance offer.

“While we are delivering strong results for shareholders, Endurance continues to pursue its ill-conceived and inadequate offer along with proposals related to the calling of a special meeting and a convoluted legal strategy Endurance has said it will pursue with the Bermuda Supreme Court.”

In its July 10 letter to Aspen shareholders, Pembroke, Bermuda-based Endurance said its proposed transaction “represents a unique opportunity for Aspen’s shareholders to realize a highly attractive premium value for their shares. While Aspen’s board and management team are making vague promises of future value, their past performance has shown that they are unlikely to deliver, and their entrenched corporate governance position shows that they won’t care.”