Tuesday 21 November 2017

FBD would 'consider' acquisitions if rivals pull out of market

Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

Insurer FBD said it will consider acquisitions if foreign owners of the bank's rivals are looking to off-load operations here, but the insurer is not actively hunting for a deal.

FBD is best known for insuring farms and rural businesses but has expanded its market share in recent years including targeting women drivers and urban customers.

The company yesterday announced pre-tax profits were up 5.3pc to €52.9m in 2012.

FBD estimates that it has increased its market share to 12.5pc and increased its final dividend by 29pc.

Gross premiums written, a measure of the amount of insurance written by FBD, fell 2pc to €344.3m, however. That means the company is growing its share of a declining market.

FBD said it was hiking the second-half dividend 29pc to 30 cent

Dividend

"This increase in dividend will help the group move towards its desired payout ratio while maintaining a high dividend cover and providing the potential for a progressive dividend in future years," the company said.

Chief executive Andrew Langford said he has seen more encouraging signs in the Irish economy than he has seen in a while, though this year was still going to be tough.

FBD has relied on organic growth since 2000, but this would be looked at as opportunities arise, he said.

"We have capital and we would look at buying if anyone was looking at pulling out of the Irish market, but it is not our first preference and we are not actively searching for deals."

He said the insurer was 100pc Irish owned and has no plans whatsoever to move primary listing to London or elsewhere.

Shares in FBD closed up 1.8pc at €12.70 each yesterday.

Irish Independent

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