MGIC loses 1,47 billion dollars

By Anastasia Tomazhenkova: The largest provider of private mortgage insurance in the United States MGIC Investment Corp. posted a $1.47 billion fourth-quarter loss on higher home delinquencies and payouts. It is also looking for ways to boost its capital.

Chairman and chief executive Curt S. Culver reported the company still doesn't see making money this year, if delinquencies and losses continue to rise and fewer homeowners get back on track with payments.

Its shares tumbled 1.22 dollar, or 8.6%, to 12.96 dollars in morning trading Wednesday.

The Milwaukee-based company said it lost 1.47 billion dollars, or 18.17 dollars a share, in the fourth quarter compared with a profit of 121.5 million dollars or 1.47 dollar a share in the same period a year ago.

A survey by Thomson Financial indicates Wall Street analysts had expected the company to lose, on average, 6.77 dollars a share. Those estimates typically exclude one-time items.

The company has hired an advisor to assist it in exploring alternatives for increasing its capital, though Culver said MGIC has enough money to pay claims.

The company announced late last month that it could pay 2 billion dollars in claims this year, up from previous estimates of up to 1.5 billion dollars. It finished 2007 paying out 870 million dollars in claims, up from 611 million dollars in 2006.

Home buyers typically must get mortgage insurance when they put down less than 20 percent of their home's value. When they miss payments, the insurers pay lenders. If homes end up in foreclosure, both lenders and insurers lose money.

Revenues for the fourth quarter were 399.1 million dollars, up 8.7% from 367.2 million dollars in the last three months of 2006. The company increased its net premiums written for the quarter nearly 25% to 380.5 million dollars, up from 367.1 million dollars in the same quarter in 2006.

MGIC finished 2007 with a loss of 1.67 billion dollars, or 20.54 dollars a share. In 2006, MGIC earned 564.7 million dollars, or 6.65 dollars a share. For the year, revenues rose to 1.69 billion dollars, from 1.47 billion dollars in 2006. New insurance written was 76.8 billion dollars, compared to 58.2 billion dollars in 2006.

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