Admiral in reverse as car insurance claims rocket
INSURER ADMIRAL took a hit as it slashed its dividend after motor claims hurt profit.
Bemoaning one of the most ‘challenging years’ for decades, the blue-chip firm reported a 39pc fall in profits for 2022 to £469m.
That was well below the £485m pencilled in by analysts and Admiral cut its dividend payment 40pc to 112p a share. The stock fell 4.1pc, or 85p, to 2003p.
Admiral has been hit by the soaring cost of car parts, which has driven up the value of claims. Bad weather also took its toll amid a flurry of claims for everything from burst water pipes during the cold snap to damage caused by storm eunice. But it pulled in more customers, while revenue was up 5pc to £3.7bn.
Peel Hunt said a decision to hike car insurance premiums by 20pc, in response to the rising cost of claims, ‘is a good sign that the uK motor market is returning to some form of discipline’.
But the setbacks echoed those at Direct Line, which in January scrapped its dividend after claims surged following the deep freeze in December. It was not all doom and gloom, however.
Hiscox, the Lloyd’s of London insurer which provides cover for everything from natural disasters to cyber attacks, posted a £38m profit for 2022.
While this was far below the £ 162m of 2021, analysts had expected a £75m loss. Hiscox rose 5.2pc, or 55.5p, to 1128.5p.
The FTSE 100 climbed 0.1pc, or 10.44 points, to 7929.92 while the FTSE 250 was down 0.5pc, or 104.64 points, to 19,851.97.
safety barrier maker Hill & Smith hailed the strength of its us businesses after its revenue rose 17pc to £732.1m in 2022 while profit jumped 62pc to £69.3m. But shares fell 6.7pc, or 94p, to 1320p. There was better news for Capita after its string of business disposals showed little sign of slowing down.
As part of efforts to focus on key divisions and cut debt, the outsourcing giant has agreed to sell its security Watchdog business to Matrix for £14m.
On Monday it secured a £21m deal to sell three of its human resources businesses. shares dipped 2.1pc, or 0.9p, to 41.4p.
Tullow Oil sank 8.1pc, or 2.76p, to 31.5p after it warned its cash flow would fall this year as a result of ramping up production off the coast of Ghana.
Wealth manager Quilter rose 3.4pc, or 2.98p, to 92.06p after revenue slid 2pc to £606m in 2022 but was ahead of the £590m analysts had predicted. A 3pc drop in profit to £134m was still £21m above market expectations.
Amte Power, which makes lithium-ion and sodium-ion battery cells for the energy storage and automotive sector, reported a loss of £3.72m for the six months to December 3, which was up from £2.65m a year ago.
The group is investing heavily in developing battery cells that can be used in hybrid electric vehicles, places without grid access and the oil and gas sector. The shares fell 2.9pc, or 2p, to 66p.
IP Group, which invests in science and tech-based firms such as Oxford nanopore, swung to a loss after the value of its public companies plunged £428.5m in 2022.
The company made a loss of £344.5m last year compared to a £449.3m profit the year before. It sank 4.8pc, or 2.95p, to 58.65p. MusicMagpie appeared to have struck a bad note after it warned that ‘the short-term outlook continues to be challenging’.
The company, which helps consumers to buy and sell secondhand CDs and electronics, said an expected post-pandemic slump across its books and disc media categories last year was offset by the growth in its consumer tech business. It tumbled 14.9pc, or 5.6p, to 31.9p.