Investment gains bring FBD to profit

 

FBD Holdings, the agricultural insurance and property company, is looking for further growth, following the 4.8 per cent rise in pre tax profit to £13.96 million in 1995.

Progress in its underwriting activities was being maintained and the contribution from its other financial services and property interests would continue to improve, said chief executive, Mr Paul O'Callaghan.

The results were boosted by a rise in investment income from £14.99 million to £20.99 million. Excluding realised gains, dividend and deposit income grew from £14.9 million to £18.1 million. Without the increase in investment income, FBD's profits would have contracted.

Underwriting losses worsened from £3.88 million to £8.05 million. This reversal is attributed to a deterioration in its public liability side and weather related claims which were higher than in 1994.

Group turnover rose by 14 per cent from £119.86 million to £136.6 million. Some £112.7 million came from the insurance and reinsurance activities, £17 million from property and hotel interests and £6.9 million from financial services.

There was a reduction in the contribution from its property and hotel interests, reflecting the except sales in 1994. However, there was "excellent" growth in financial services.

FBD's earnings per share rose from 22.73p to 26.6p. Shareholders will benefit with a final dividend of 3.773p net per share, making a total of 6.7375p, an increase of 15.2 per cent. The higher dividend is covered a comfortable 3.95 times.

Net assets per share jumped from 120.80p to 148.42p. This reflects the rise in retained profit, from £6.82 million to £8.04 million, and unrealised gains of £3.35 million, compared with unrealised losses of £6.1 million in 1994.

Direct premium income written exceeded £100 million in 1995, representing an increase of 12 per cent. More intense competition would reduce this growth rate to between 7 per cent and 8 per cent this year, Mr O'Callaghan said.

FBD had recorded a 12.5 per cent increase in profits in the first half of 1995. This implies that losses were incurred in the second six months. However, the thrust of the business between the two halfs was similar, with underwriting losses being offset by investment gains.