Berk­shire in­vests mil­lions in Torus

Look­ing to fund its on­go­ing ex­pan­sion ef­forts, Torus In­sur­ance Hold­ings Ltd re­ceived a cap­i­tal in­fu­sion of $100 mil­lion from Berk­shire Hath­away Inc. The spe­cialty in­surer says that it has re­ceived fund­ing from National In­dem­nity Co., a com­mer­cial in­sur­ance unit of Ne­braska-based Berk­shire Hath­away, ac­cord­ing to Busi­nessin­sur­

The Berk­shire out­lay co­in­cided with an ad­di­tional round of fund­ing pro­vided by ex­ist­ing share­hold­ers and pri­vate eq­uity firms, First Re­serve Corp. and Cor­sair Cap­i­tal LLC, a Torus spokes­woman says. While terms of the trans­ac­tion were not re­leased, sources con­firmed that the Berk­shire in­fu­sion ranged from $80 mil­lion to $100 mil­lion. Torus be­gan op­er­a­tions in 2008 with $720 mil­lion in eq­uity fund­ing from First Re­serve.

“We are de­lighted that Berk­shire Hath­away has in­vested in Torus,”

Group CEO Clive Tobin said in a state­ment. “This is part of an ex­pand­ing re­la­tion­ship with one of the most re­spected com­pa­nies in our in­dus­try.” He adds the in­vest­ment af­firmed the spe­cialty in­surer and rein­surer’s global de­vel­op­ment goal.

Torus has sub­stan­tially repo­si­tioned its busi­ness in the past two years. In Septem­ber 2011, Torus said it would ac­quire Lloyd’s of Lon­don syn­di­cate 1301, which un­der­writes di­rect and fac­ul­ta­tive prop­erty, ac­ci­dent and health busi­ness. In De­cem­ber 2011, Torus ac­quired the re­newal rights to CV Starr & Co.’s con­ti­nen­tal Euro­pean busi­ness. Torus also sold its re­newal rights of its prop­erty catas­tro­phe rein­sur­ance book of busi­ness and en­tered the US surety mar­ket dur­ing 2011.

US CEO con­fi­dence low­est in three years

Fi­nance24 re­ports that US chief ex­ec­u­tives’ view of the econ­omy de­te­ri­o­rated sharply in the third quar­ter and is now as bleak as it was in the im­me­di­ate af­ter­math of the last re­ces­sion, with more plan­ning to cut jobs over the next six months, ac­cord­ing to a sur­vey re­leased by the Busi­ness Roundtable.

The group’s CEO Eco­nomic Out­look In­dex tum­bled to 66 per cent in the third quar­ter from 89.1 per cent in the sec­ond, in the sharpest drop recorded in the sur­vey’s decade-long his­tory. Con­fi­dence fell to its low­est point since the third quar­ter of 2009, when the US had just emerged from its worst re­ces­sion in 80 years, but re­mained above the 50 mark, sep­a­rat­ing growth from de­cline.

Among US CEOs, 34 per cent ex­pect to cut jobs in the United States over the next six months, up from 20 per cent a quar­ter ago. Thirty per cent plan to raise cap­i­tal spend­ing, down from 43 per cent. Over that time pe­riod, 58 per cent ex­pect their sales to rise 34 per cent, down from the pre­vi­ous sur­vey’s 75 per cent.

The weak econ­omy and stub­bornly high un­em­ploy­ment are shap­ing up to be key ele­ments in vot­ers’ choice be­tween in­cum­bent Demo­cratic Pres­i­dent Barack Obama and Repub­li­can chal­lenger Mitt Rom­ney.

Thehe sur­vey comes less than twowo months ahead of the US pres­i­den­tial­res­i­den­tial elec­tion, in which the weakeak econ­omy and stub­bornly high un­em­ploy­ment­nem­ploy­ment are shap­ing up to bee key ele­ments in vot­ers’ choice be­tweenetween in­cum­bent Demo­cratic Pres­i­den­tres­i­dent Barack Obama and Repub­li­canepub­li­can chal­lenger Mitt Rom­ney.

In­vestorsvestors will get a more de­tailed lookok at cor­po­rate con­fi­dence next mon­thonth when top US com­pa­nies in­clud­ing­clud­ing Al­coa, JPMor­gan Chase andnd Gen­eral Elec­tric re­port quar­ter­lyuar­terly re­sults. The sur­vey of 13838 CEOs was con­ducted from 30 Au­gus­tu­gust to 14 Septem­ber.

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