Insurer hints at higher dividend

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The Independent Online
TRANSATLANTIC, the property and life insurance company controlled by the South African financier Donny Gordon, hinted yesterday that it would be raising its dividend at the year-end for the first time since 1991, writes Tom Stevenson.

There was no interim increase despite a 46 per cent jump in pre-tax profits from pounds 30.2m to pounds 44.2m. But Mr Gordon said: 'The excellent start to the financial year should give the directors the opportunity at the year-end of considering an increase.'

Half-time profits benefited from a 35 per cent jump in income from the six shopping centres held through Capital Shopping Centres, the property investment company floated in April.

Transatlantic retains a 74per cent stake in CSC, owner of the Lakeside shopping centre in Essex. CSC announced pre-tax profits of pounds 8.3m yesterday in its maiden interim results.

The contribution from Sun Life, the life insurer jointly owned with UAP of France, increased from pounds 18.5m to pounds 22.5m. A net exceptional profit of pounds 3.7m included a pounds 12.9m profit arising from the flotation of CSC offset by the pounds 9.2m cost of unravelling an interest rate swap.

Sun Life reported further growth in new business, with total new premiums 10.7 per cent higher than last year at pounds 1.2bn. Regular premiums were 19 per cent better, including a 34 per cent increase in sales of personal pensions.

The shares closed 3p higher at 381p.