Surge in operating profits at FBD


Reduced underwriting losses and a good increase in income from property and broking resulted in a strong rise in operating profits at FBD Holdings for the six months to end June.

The group reported operating profits of €16 million (£12.6 million), up 70 per cent on the corresponding six months of 1999 and a jump in pre-tax profits to €7.3 million from €2.4 million. But the insurer's accounts are complicated by accounting rules requiring the inclusion of unrealised losses on investments (€12 million) and transfers to and from technical accounts.

Chief executive Mr Paul O'Callaghan said progress in all its business units had continued into the current half and the group expected a successful outcome for the year. FBD had no plans to make an acquisition or merge with another company and is not on the market, he said.

His group was investing in staff recruitment and training, in expanding its branch network, and is examining opportunities to develop new and existing business through e-commerce, he said. Shareholders are to get an 11 per cent rise in their interim dividend to 7.2 cents per share.

The results show a 16 per cent rise in group premium income to €101 million. Mr O'Callaghan said underwriting losses were reduced to €6 million from €6.9 million. The improvement came in the motor account which benefited from premium increases and fewer big claims. FBD will continue to keep motor premiums under review and will increase premiums in categories with bad claims experience. The outcome on liability and property underwriting was largely unchanged, he said.

Growth in group premium income reflected buoyant new business volumes, higher sums insured and higher premium charges in some risk areas, he said. But the main income growth in the period came from non-underwriting activities and property. Other income almost doubled, rising to €9.8 million from €5.1 million.