CE Heath improves to pounds 11m

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THE INSURANCE broker C E Heath, one of Britain's largest, yesterday reported an improvement in operating profits for the half-year ending September.

Operating profits rose from pounds 8.9m to pounds 11.6m in the six months. The company said its insurance broking operations worldwide increased profits against the comparable period of the previous year by 59 per cent to pounds 5.8m.

This was despite a substantial fall in interest rates, although the group gained from favourable currency movements.

In overall terms brokerages increased by almost 11 per cent to pounds 56.6m and expenses by less than 4 per cent, but investment income was down almost 21 per cent.

In underlying terms, after adjusting for the beneficial impact of foreign exchange rates, brokerage increased by more than 3 per cent, expenses rose by less than 1 per cent and investment income was down 27 per cent.

There is an unchanged interim dividend of 5p.

Heath stressed that it had continued with its stated aim of reducing its involvement in underwriting by disposing of a substantial part of its shareholding in C E Heath International Holdings (HIH) in Australia.