Hogg holds up in first six months

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The Independent Online
INTERIM results from Hogg Group, the insurance concern, found favour in the City yesterday. The shares gained 14p to 131p.

Unlike the heavy losses elsewhere in the industry, Hogg contained the fall in pre-tax profits for the six months to 30 June to a drop from pounds 8.26m to pounds 6.8m.

James Vaughn, chairman, said: 'External factors relating to the economy, exchange rates, levels of interest and market conditions continued to plague the insurance broking industry.

'However, throughout this period most of our UK trading entities have shown significant growth which has enabled us to mitigate these effects.'

The underlying rate of growth on brokerage for the six months compared with the same period last year, excluding recent acquisitions and currency effects, was 3.2 per cent. Total brokerage growth in the UK was 7.9 per cent. Growth on Hogg's retail businesses was 13 per cent.

In the US, where the economy and market conditions 'continued to be very difficult', underlying brokerage fell by 3 per cent.

Hogg is holding the interim dividend at 3.15p, which 'reflects our confidence that we remain well placed to take full advantage of improved market conditions as they materialise'.

The dividend is nearly twice covered by earnings per share of 6p, down from 7.52p.

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