Shares in FBD up over 3pc on results
Shares in insurer FBD were up over 3pc in early morning trading today after the group recorded profit before tax of €50m last year, in line with the €49.7m reported in 2017.
Gross written premium of €371.5m for the year was down marginally on 2017, due to what the group said was "a highly competitive environment," according to annual results from FBD.
Increases in commercial business premiums written were offset by reductions in the agricultural and consumer divisions.
However, FBD’s combined operating ratio (a measure of profitability) of 81.2pc improved from 86.2pc in 2017, and includes a €28.7m (8.5pc) benefit from prior year reserve release and Storm Emma net costs after reinsurance recoveries of €6.6m.
In addition, the group proposed a dividend of 50c per share in respect of 2018, double what it paid in 2017.
Fiona Muldoon, CEO of FBD, said: "Our continued focus on underwriting discipline has delivered excellent underwriting profits for 2018. I am delighted the board has proposed to more than double the dividend to 50c per share on the back of such strong results, rewarding our loyal shareholders."
"The successful purchase and cancellation of the Fairfax convertible bond in October demonstrated the financial strength of FBD."
On the matter of Brexit, Ms Muldoon said the group was resilient, and "will navigate this together with Irish farming and with all other Irish businesses."
During the year the group agreed a deal to purchase and cancel €70m of convertible notes held by Fairfax Financial Holdings at a cost of €86m, meaning existing FBD shareholders no longer faced the prospect of their stake being diluted. The deal was funded through the issue of non-convertible debt of €50m and cash reserves.