Fidelity earnings beat forecasts; J&J Vision Care sales up operationally

Fortegra Financial Corp. acquires Defend Insurance Group.

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Excluding currency impacts, sales were up 1.5% for the quarter on an operational basis for Johnson & Johnson Vision Care.
Excluding currency impacts, sales were up 1.5% for the quarter on an operational basis for Johnson & Johnson Vision Care.
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Fidelity National Financial Inc. reported second-quarter adjusted earnings of 92 cents a share, 6 cents higher than last year and 8 cents higher than the average forecast of analysts, according to Zacks.

The Jacksonville-based title insurance company said Tuesday its pretax earnings and profit margins were its best quarterly performance since 2003.

Fidelity said title insurance orders opened for home purchases fell by 2% but orders for refinancings jumped by 51%, due to the persistent decline in mortgage rates.

“With strong second quarter refinance orders opened, an improving trend in purchase orders opened and continued strength in commercial orders opened, we are well positioned to continue to produce strong financial results in our title business as we enter the second half of 2019,” Chairman Bill Foley said in a news release.

J&J Vision Care sales up operationally

Johnson & Johnson said Tuesday second-quarter sales at its Jacksonville-based vision care business fell 1% to $1.16 billion, due to the impact of foreign exchange rates on its international sales.

However, excluding currency impacts, sales were up 1.5% for the quarter on an operational basis.

During the global medical products giant’s quarterly conference call, Chief Financial Officer Joseph Wolk said underlying demand for the company’s contact lenses remains strong. However, inventory adjustments from the first quarter to the second quarter impacted sales.

“We thought it was going to be more of a hard Brexit, which impacted some of the first quarter levels of inventories,” he said.

Johnson & Johnson’s total sales rose by 1.6% on an operational basis to $20.6 billion in the quarter, with adjusted earnings growing by 48 cents a share to $2.58. Zacks said earnings were 16 cents higher than the average forecast of analysts.

Fortegra buys European insurer

Fortegra Financial Corp. last week said it acquired Defend Insurance Group, which provides automotive specialty insurance solutions in the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the United Kingdom.

Terms of the deal were not announced.

Fortegra, a Jacksonville-based insurance services company, formed a European subsidiary last year.

“Defend complements our existing operations in Europe and, given their expertise, may contribute to our global strategy,” CEO Richard Kahlbaugh said in a news release.

Fortegra is a subsidiary of Tiptree Inc., which acquired the then-publicly traded company in 2014 for $218 million.

Brightway premiums reach $600 million

Jacksonville-based Brightway Insurance last week said it has reached $600 million in annualized written premiums.

The property/casualty insurance distribution company has a network of nearly 900 workers in 21 states, including about 250 at its Jacksonville headquarters.

Webstar CEO Stingone dies

Webstar Technology Group Inc. said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing last week that former CEO Joseph Stingone died.

The company said in a previous SEC filing that Stingone was replaced by an interim CEO on June 27 because of an “unexpected illness.”

Donald Roberts was named last week as permanent CEO of the Jacksonville-based company, which is developing technology applications and has been attempting to go public.

Roberts is a longtime banker who has served in executive roles with several Jacksonville area institutions, as well as banks in Texas and Georgia. 



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