Better outlook at Direct Line

Direct Line Insurance moved a step closer to a float yesterday when it said it expected future profitability to soar.

Britain's largest motor insurer is being sold by Royal Bank of Scotland in a float that could value it at £3bn, as a condition of RBS taking government rescue funds.

First-half operating profits were up 7 per cent to £224m, with pre-tax profit down 43 per cent to £106.5m.

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