W.R. Berkley (BER) just reported its fourth-quarter earnings. (Click here for conference call.) For the last three months of the year, net income dropped to from $198.1 million to $184.1 million. On a per-share basis, that’s a fall from 98 cents to 97 cents. With insurance companies, it’s better to look at operating results. Here, BER saw its number drop from $193.7 million to $183.2 million, which is actually a penny per share increase to 97 cents a share. That beat Wall Street’s estimate by two cents a share.
For the full year, Berkley’s operating income was $3.73 per share which was a nice increase over the $3.46 per share from 2006. Wall Street currently sees BER earnings $3.86 for 2008 which is a pretty small increase. Still, it means that the shares are going for less than eight times this year’s earnings. This is a good company going for a good price.