This article discusses the holding company Loews. For the home improvement company, see Lowe's Companies (LOW).
Loews Corporation (NYSE: L) is a holding company with subsidiaries in the fields of natural gas transportation, luxury watch brands, Property & Casualty Insurance, offshore drilling, hotels, and cigarettes. Loews management members are active in each of the subsidiaries’ boards - ensuring that the companies are always run in compliance with the Loews approach to investing. Loews is historically a conservative investor who maintains an ample amount of cash on reserve to provide the flexibility to act when needed on a new acquisition or to revive a struggling subsidiary.
Loews Corporation has, since the early 20th century, been successful in maintaining and adding to its liquid assets, while also taking advantage of struggling businesses in need of a bail out. In 1960, they took over Loews Theatres, razing several of the properties and selling the lots to real estate developers for a profit. In 1968, Lorillard was rapidly declining in market share value. Loews bought it, changed management, and turned it around. Loews did the same for Diamond Offshore Drilling, Bulova, and CNA which Loews boosted in 1974 from a $208 million loss to a $110 million profit in 1975. This pattern of stringent investing and acquisition remains the reason why Loews is able to maintain profitability in the face of ever-changing consumer whims.
Loews is a holding company for a series of majority-owned subsidiaries.
Boardwalk Pipeline is comprised of two natural gas pipeline systems, Texas Gas and Gulf South, which cover 11 states with storage fields in 4 states. Boardwalk recently commenced projects to increase the scope of its network: East Texas to Mississippi Expansion, Gulf Crossing, Southeast Expansion, Fayetteville Shale, and Western Kentucky Storage Expansion. Loews owned 81.6% of Boardwalk Pipeline in 2008, which accounted for 3% of its revenue at the time (in 2010 the equity interest was down to 66%).
Bulova distributes luxury watches and clocks under the brands Bulova, Caravelle, Accutron, and Wittnauer. Bulova is the largest and best performing. Accutron and Wittnauer did well in the Swiss watch markets; Bulova increased sales in Canada, Mexico, and Italy. Loews owns 100% of Bulova.
CNA Financial offers several forms of insurance including property, casualty, and marine liability to individuals, and management and professional liability insurance to several firms. CNA is the seventh-largest commercial insurer and fourteenth-largest property and casualty insurer in the nation. Over the last 2 years CNA's underwriters have cut costs and increased income by increasing client retention, selling additional CNA products to existing customers, and adding select new business --particularly in the profitable segment of large property coverage. By selling more coverage to existing customers, CNA gains more insight into underwriting making them better able to assess risk and make smarter decisions about types of coverage to offer and how to market them. Also, CNA staves off potential poaching by competitors by offering more services to clients who otherwise may have sought additional coverage elsewhere. The changes at CNA have resulted in drastically improved ratings by major credit rating agencies, and a full pay off of its debt to Loews.
Diamond Offshore is an offshore drilling company which concentrates on securing contracts in the deepwater and mid-water drilling sectors. Diamond Offshore’s presence in the North Sea and Asia Pacific region enabled it to benefit from the increasing global mid-water market which offers the greatest number of contract opportunities. Loews owns 54.3% of Diamond Offshore which accounts for 8% of its revenue.
Loews Hotels is a leading luxury hotel chain with 18 hotels and resorts in both the United States and Canada. Loews Hotels recently acquired the Loews Lake Las Vegas Resort and assumed management of The Madison in Washington, DC.
Lorillard is the nation’s oldest tobacco company. It owns the brands Newport, Kent, True, Old Gold, and Maverick, with Newport as its flagship brand and greatest source of revenue. About 90% of Lorillard’s supply volume is Newport. Loews owns 100% of Lorillard which accounts for 23% of its revenue.
L's competitors include: