Old Republic Reduces Stake in MGIC by 28% as Mortgage Insurer Posts Losses

Old Republic International Corp., the biggest shareholder in MGIC Investment Corp., cut its stake by about 28 percent as the mortgage insurer has posted losses in 13 of the past 14 quarters.

Old Republic, based in Chicago, owned 13.5 million shares on Jan. 14, according to a regulatory filing today. That’s down from 18.6 million as of Jan. 13, 2010.

MGIC, led by Chief Executive Officer Curt Culver, posted a fourth-quarter loss on Jan. 19 that was wider than analysts predicted. The Milwaukee-based company fell the most in 22 months after the earnings announcement, and is still up 43 percent in the past year.

Restoring profits in the mortgage-insurance industry is like “turning a battleship in the middle of the Hudson River,” Old Republic CEO Aldo Zucaro said in an April interview. “You got to back it out. It’s a slow process.”

MGIC declined 13 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $9.07 as of 4 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange trading. Old Republic fell 11 cents to $12.89 and has gained 19 percent in the past year.

To contact the reporter on this story: April Lee in New York at alee355@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Kraut at dkraut2@bloomberg.net

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