Fidelity Enjoys Strong 1st Quarter

At three of the four largest publicly traded title insurance companies in the nation, the first quarter of 2004 saw lower earnings compared with the same time in 2003.

Only at Fidelity National Financial Inc., Jacksonville, Fla., did they grow, from $143.6 million for the first quarter of 2003 to $150.2 million for the most recent quarter. However on a per share basis, earnings fell from $1.05 per share to $0.88 per share.

Revenue increased from $1.4 billion in the first quarter 2003 to $1.8 billion. Included in the total was $237 million in revenue generated from Fidelity Information Services, which FNF acquired the portion it did not already own at the end of the third quarter last year.

The company's title and escrow business had revenue of $1.3 billion and pretax income of $175.4 million.

William P. Foley II, chairman and chief executive of FNF, said, "With the widespread expectation of a slowdown in the mortgage market in 2004, we see this as an opportunity to highlight the impact that our diversification efforts can have on revenue and earnings.

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