A Look At Loews - Hotels, Energy, Insurance

Conglomerate Loews (L) is having a rough time, with several of its holdings severely hit by not only COVID-19 restrictions, but by broader market conditions as well, asserts Adrian Day, editor of Global Analyst.

First, its struggling, majority-owned Diamond Offshore succumbed to weak oil markets by filing for bankruptcy. Its investment income at its CNA insurance unit declined sharply. And, virtually all its hotels have closed and laid off 90% of staff amid travel restrictions.

All this contributed to a loss for the quarter of $632 million, with over $400 million of attributable to a no-cash impairment on some of Diamond Offshore’s rigs. And, the current quarter won’t be better. It will write down its carrying value on Diamond this quarter.

The bankrupt shares of Diamond Offshore are currently trading at 20 cents in the pink sheets, down from $7 a share at the beginning of the year (and over $100 a share before the 2008 credit crisis).

Loews’ carrying value at quarter-end of over $1 billion; that will be slashed to about $15 million (in a non-cash loss). Given the bankruptcy, Loews no longer controls Diamond, and so will no longer consolidate Diamond’s earnings.

Some units, however, are doing well. CNA’s (CNA) operations have been strong, driven by lower expenses, as well as rate increases. Its business interruption policies do not play on the virus related closures. But, the decline in interest rates will affect its ability to earn on its reserves.

Boardwalk Pipelines is doing well, notwithstanding the decline in the weakness in the O&G sector. Its plastic packaging manufacturer, Altium has benefited from a surge in demand from the retail side during the virus shutdowns.

Looking ahead, the hotels should start to come back, though it’s unknown how much demand there will be, especially in the near term.

The company has lots of cash to see it through. The balance sheet remains rock solid, with over $3 billion in cash and investments held at the parent level (80% of that in cash and equivalents), and no significant calls on cash.

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Disclosure: TM Editors Note: This article discusses one or more penny stocks and/or microcaps. Such stocks are readily manipulated; do your own careful due diligence.

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