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Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. says its net earnings plunged 35 per cent to US$68.6 million in the third quarter.

The Toronto-based firm, which reports in U.S. dollars, says it earned $2.04 per diluted share for the period ended Sept. 30, compared with $3.34 per share or $106.2 million a year earlier.

Fairfax says the decrease primarily reflected $96.7 million of net investment losses.

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Net premiums increased 12.1 per cent to $3.3 billion.

Underwriting profits grew to 81.3 million from 74.2 million a year ago.

Fairfax chairman and CEO Prem Watsa says the company continued to have strong underwriting performance despite the “catastrophe activity” in the quarter.

“We continue to be soundly financed, with over $1 billion cash and marketable securities at the holding company and no significant holding company debt maturities until 2022.”

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