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Risk and insurance segment boosts Jardine Lloyd Thompson revenue


Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group P.L.C. on Tuesday said it saw revenue grow 4.7% in the first half of 2016 to £619.4 million ($811.8 million) compared with the first half of 2015.

The revenue growth occurred in its risk and insurance segment, where revenues rose 8% to £481.8 ($631.4 million) in the half compared with the same period in 2015, the London-based brokerage said in its interim report.

“Against the background of a challenging environment, JLT achieved solid progress in the first half of 2016,” Dominic Burke, group CEO, said during the company’s earnings presentation on Tuesday.

In particular, JLT Specialty, which includes the U.S. and U.K. specialty segments, generated revenues of £145.3 million ($190.4 million) in the period, a 4.7% increase over the same period in 2015, delivering revenue growth of 5%, or 3% on an organic basis, as significant new business was gained across all specialty divisions, which will contribute to the broker’s second-half results, according to the report.

“We continue to view JLT as being well-positioned via its specialty proposition to grow faster than both (gross domestic product) and global insurance premiums,” Toronto-based research firm RBC Capital Markets said in a research note. “We are highly encouraged by the commentary from the CEO that suggested that client wins have been as strong as at any time since he became CEO.”

In contrast, revenue for its employee benefits dropped 4.6% to £137.6 million ($180.3 million) in the first six months of 2016 compared with the first six months of 2015, reflecting a 12% revenue decline in the segment’s U.K. and Ireland division, which had a “disproportionately large impact on the first half,” Mr. Burke said.

The losses were partly attributable to the shift by U.K. employee benefits brokers from fees to commissions 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. In addition, muted demand from pension scheme trustees and corporate sponsors for anything more than obligatory services continued and further impacted the segment’s first half revenues and profits, he said.

“Decisive action has now been completed to better align costs with revenues,” Mr. Burke said in the presentation, namely a restructuring leading to the loss of more than 300 employees and expected to deliver £9 million ($11.8 million) in cost savings this year, growing to £14 million ($18.4 million) in cost savings this year.

However, the employee benefits division is poised for a turnaround in 2017, according to RBC’s note.

“2016 will be a transition year for this business to restore margins back to satisfactory levels and towards a 15% trading margin by the end of 2017 in line with our expectations,” RBC said.

The broker’s reported profit declined 53.3% to £36.2 million ($47.4 million) million compared with the same period in 2015, reflecting U.S. investment and exceptional costs, according to the report. Net investment in JLT’s U.S. operations in the first six months of 2016 was £17.2 million ($22.5 million) up 36.5% compared with the same period in 2015.

Board moves

The company also announced that Adam Keswick has been appointed to the board as a nonexecutive director effective Sept. 1, and will become deputy chairman and also join the remuneration and nominations committees, positions previously held by Lord Rodney Leach prior to his June death. Mr. Keswick is currently based in Hong Kong and is deputy managing director of Jardine Matheson Holdings Ltd.

Geoffrey Howe will replace Mr. Leach as chairman of the nominations committee.

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