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Assured Guaranty Q2 operating income up YOY

Assured Guaranty Ltd. booked second-quarter operating income of $141 million, or $1.38 per share, up from $74 million, or 66 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter.

The operating income climbed year over year mainly due to lower losses and higher fair value of financial guaranty variable interest entities gains in the second quarter, as well as higher commutation and debt extinguishment losses in the second quarter of 2018. This was offset by lower net earned premiums and a higher effective tax rate.

Net income amounted to $142 million, or $1.39 per share, versus $75 million, or 67 cents per share, in the prior-year period. The company said the year-over-year increase was mainly due to changes in loss and loss adjustment expenses, fair value of financial guaranty variable interest entities, foreign exchange rates and other income items.

Loss and loss adjustment expenses in the second quarter was a benefit of $1 million, compared with a loss of $44 million in the prior-year quarter. Fair value of financial guaranty variable interest entities were $33 million in the second quarter, up from $2 million in the year-ago period. The company recorded lower foreign exchange losses in the second quarter at $14 million, compared with $36 million in the second quarter of 2018.

Net earned premiums were $112 million, versus $136 million in the year-ago period. The company attributed the decline to lower accelerations from refundings and terminations, which amounted to $20 million in the second quarter from $39 million in the year-ago period.

Adjusted book value per share was $88.67 as of June 30, compared with $86.06 as of Dec. 31, 2018.

On Aug. 7, Assured Guaranty's board approved the repurchase of $300 million of common shares, in addition to the previous authorization to buy back the same amount of shares. The remaining authorization to buy back common shares as of Aug. 7 was $450 million.