Money Odds & Ends

Badger Meter CEO to ring bell at New York Stock Exchange
Badger Meter Inc. chairman, president and chief executive Rich Meeusen will ring the opening bell on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) this morning to celebrate the promotion of the Milwaukee company’s stock to "The Big Board." Badger Meter’s common stock will begin trading this morning on the NYSE after 37 years of being traded on the American Stock Exchange (Amex). The company’s ticker symbol will remain "BMI." Meeusen will be joined in the morning ceremony by other senior executives and members of Badger Meter’s board of directors. "We are honored to be eligible to join the many leading companies on the Big Board. Badger Meter has enjoyed a 37-year relationship with the American Stock Exchange that has served us well and has helped us to grow as a public company. However, with the increasing value of our shares, higher trading volume and improved financial performance, we believe our move to the NYSE is an appropriate next step that will give Badger Meter more visibility in the financial market and improve our stock’s liquidity," Meeusen said.

MGIC finds reinsurance to share risk
Cash-strapped MGIC Investment Corp. announced that its subsidiary, Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corporation (MGIC), has entered into an agreement in which an affiliate of HCC Insurance Holdings Inc. will reinsure up to $50 billion of MGIC’s new policies. Milwaukee-based MGIC, which is the nation’s largest private mortgage insurer, has been battered by the subprime collapse and rising foreclosures. Curt Culver, chairman and chief executive officer of MGIC, said the reinsurance agreement completes another step in the company’s capital plan and is expected to provide claims-paying resources in catastrophic loss environments for insurance written beginning April 1, 2008 through Dec. 31, 2010. Under terms of the agreement, MGIC expects to pay about 5 percent of its net premiums in exchange for HCC covering "catastrophic loss environments."

MGIC reported a net loss of $34.4 million for the first quarter, compared with a net income of $92.4 million in the same period a year earlier. Culver said the company’s financial results continued to be impacted by increases in both the number of delinquent loans and foreclosures that have resulted as home prices declined further and the economy slowed. MGIC acknowledged that it continues to face market risks. "A downturn in the domestic economy or deterioration in home prices in the segment of the market we serve may result in more homeowners defaulting and our losses increasing.

Losses result from events that reduce a borrower’s ability to continue to make mortgage payments, such as unemployment, and whether the home of a borrower who defaults on his mortgage can be sold for an amount that will cover unpaid principal and interest and the expenses of the sale," MGIC stated in the announcement. "There can be no assurance that additional premium deficiency reserves on other portions of our insurance portfolio will not be required. If interest rates decline, house prices appreciate or mortgage insurance cancellation requirements change, the length of time that our policies remain in force could decline and result in declines in our revenue."

Another law firm files class-action suit against MGIC
New York-based Stull, Stull & Brody has filed a class-action lawsuit against Milwaukee-based MGIC Investment Corp., the third law firm to do so in recent weeks. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of purchasers of MGIC stock between Oct. 12, 2006, and Feb. 12, 2008. The lawsuit alleges that MGIC issued false and misleading statements regarding the company’s business and financial results. As a result, MGIC stock traded at artificially inflated prices, the lawsuit alleges. New York-based Brualdi Law Firm P.C., filed a class-action lawsuit against MGIC two weeks ago, and Ademi & O’Reilly LLP, based in Cudahy, filed the first class-action suit against MGIC in May.


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