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Jardine Lloyd Thompson sees 6% hike in first-half revenue

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Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group P.L.C. posted revenue of £591.6 million ($917.6 million) for the first six months of 2015, a 6.0% increase compared with the first half of last year, the London-based brokerage said Tuesday.

The company posted pretax profit of £101.5 million ($157.4 million) for the first half of 2015, a 3.2% increase over the comparable period in 2014.

JLT said its underlying profit decreased by 10% to £96.3 million ($149.4 million) because of the cost of its investment in its U.S. specialty operations, which amounted to £12.6 million ($19.5 million).

JLT achieved good underlying growth in the first half, notably in its U.S, and reinsurance operations, said James Twining, group commercial director of JLT.

JLT Re's revenue grew by 5% to £117.9 million ($182.9 million) for the first half of 2015, while JLT USA's revenue totaled £7.5 million ($11.6 million) for the first half of the year, an increase of 203% compared with the first half of 2014.

Organic revenue growth was 2% for the first half of 2015, JLT said. This reflected in part the shift of several large client renewals to the second half of the year, explained Mark Drummond Brady, deputy group CEO at JLT.

Organic revenue growth also was affected by a shift by United Kingdom employee benefits brokers from fees to commissions, which has accelerated ahead of a U.K. legal requirement for commission payments to intermediaries on employee benefits business to be eradicated by the end of 2016 under the Retail Distribution Review.

JLT remains confident that organic revenue growth for the full year will reach about 6%, Mr. Drummond Brady said.

The brokerage's employee benefits business posted revenue of £144.2 million ($223.7 million), an 11% increase compared with the first half of 2014.

JLT's first-half results were better than expected, Eamonn Flanagan, head of the Liverpool, England, office of Shore Capital Group Ltd., said in a note to investors, and the brokerage's organic growth is expected to move back toward 6% for the full year, the same level recorded in 2014.

“The ending of commission payments within the employee benefits business a year early is disappointing, but we expect the margin hit, from about 20% to about 17%, to be mitigated by a refocusing of the cost base,” he said.

Mr. Flanagan said Shore Capital expects JLT to report underlying profit of about £180 million ($279.2 million) for the full year.

“Headline growth has been impacted by phasing distortions and one-off loss of U.K. employee benefits commissions, but the underlying growth rate looks in line with previous years,” Nick Johnson, analyst at Numis Securities Ltd. in London, said in a research note for investors. “We are positive on the shares based on JLT's proven organic growth record and the potential value creation by the U.S. business.”