February 20, 2009 / 12:44 PM / 9 years ago

UPDATE 1-Kingsway Financial posts wider Q4 loss

* Q4 loss $6.53 wider than Street view

* Cuts dividend by 73 pct

* Says reducing premium income from unprofitable business

Feb 20 (Reuters) - Kingsway Financial Services (KFS.TO) posted a wider quarterly loss, hurt by investment losses, goodwill impairment and future-tax allowance charges, and cut its dividend by 73 percent.

The company reported fourth-quarter net loss of $360.4 million, or $6.53 a share, compared with a loss of $103.5 million, or $1.84 a share, a year ago.

Analysts on average were expecting the company to post a loss of $1.09 a share, before items, according to Reuters Estimates.

Kingsway, which sells nonstandard auto and truck policies, said problems at its largest unit, Lincoln General, contributed $77.5 million to its fourth-quarter loss.

“Lincoln General has been the main cause of losses beginning in 2007 relating to its legacy business,” Chief Executive Shaun Jackson said.

“We are looking at strategic alternatives in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Insurance Department regarding the future of Lincoln. The outcome of these discussions may have a bearing on our capital position.”

The company also lowered its dividend to C$0.02 from C$0.075 last quarter.

Kingsway said it was cutting income from non-core and unprofitable lines of business, and lowering volatility of the balance sheet by divesting its common share equity portfolio.

Shares of the company closed at C$3.15 Thursday on the Toronto Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Supantha Mukherjee in Bangalore; Editing by Jarshad Kakkrakandy)

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