Fairfax swings to US$806M Q1 profit on surge in revenues; donates US$5M to India

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TORONTO — Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. says it swung to an US$806-million profit attributable to shareholders in the first quarter on an increase in premiums as it donates millions of dollars to help India deal with increase in COVID-19 cases.

The Toronto-based insurance company, which reports in U.S. dollars, says it earned US$28.91 per diluted share, compared with a loss of US$47.38 per share or US$1.26 billion a year earlier. 

Revenue for the three months ended March 31 was almost US$6 billion, up from US$3.16 billion in the first quarter or 2020.

A big part of the difference was an US$842-million gain on investments, versus a US$1.5-billion loss a year earlier.

Fairfax was expected to earn US$10.55 per share on US$5.8 billion of revenues, according to financial data firm Refinitiv.

Fairfax Financial, together with the Fairfax India Charitable Trust and Fairfax India Holdings Corp., committed US$5 million to fund initiatives to help India with the recent surge in COVID-19 cases.

“We are saddened by the current crisis in India resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Fairfax wishes to assist India in traversing this incredibly difficult time and are hopeful that our commitment will provide some relief to India and its health-care system,” stated chairman and CEO Prem Watsa.