- Shareholders’ Equity increased to $118.3 million
- Interim dividend declared of eight cents per share
(Hamilton, Bermuda, June 29, 2015) – Argus Group Holdings Limited (the “Group” or the “Argus Group”) today announced a net profit of $16.0 million for year ended March 31, 2015 compared to $13.3 million in the year prior. In addition, the Board has declared an interim dividend of eight cents per share.
Alison Hill, Chief Executive Officer of the Argus Group, comments: “Last year was another year of strong and steady growth for the Argus Group. This solid result, which was negatively impacted by Hurricanes Fay and Gonzalo, reflects the benefits of the geographic and product diversification within the Group.
Shareholders’ Equity now stands at $118.3 million, representing an increase from $106.1 million in the year prior. The result for the year represents a return on average Shareholders’ Equity of 14.3 percent compared to 13.2 percent for the previous year. Earnings per share for the year were $0.76 compared to $0.63 last year. As of March 31, 2015, Total Assets including Segregated Fund Assets stood at $2.2 billion.
Net premiums written increased by $13.4 million or 11 percent, arising from a combination of new business and very high client retention levels. Net benefits and claims increased by $5.3 million due primarily to hurricane related claims in the Bermuda Property and Casualty business. As part of Argus’ risk mitigation programme, the Group has comprehensive reinsurance arrangements in place which reduce the financial impact of such significant insurable events.
Investment income increased by $7.9 million when compared to the prior year aided by further declines in global interest rates, which resulted in unrealised gains in the fixed income portfolios being reported for the year. The Group’s disciplined asset liability matching policy means that these unrealised investment gains are partially offset by the effect of changes to interest rate assumptions used to determine the annuity reserves.
Operating expenses increased by $5.2 million driven by significant one-off investments as the Group builds a global world-class infrastructure to support strategic initiatives and growth for the future. Amortisation, depreciation and impairment increased by $8.0 million due to one-off write downs totalling $9.0 million on certain intangible assets and property and equipment as a result of prudent actions taken following the annual review of the carrying value of the Group’s assets.
Ms Hill adds: “One of the Group’s priorities is creating solutions that will benefit our clients and communities in which we operate. Argus is becoming a driving force in “bending the trend” as escalating health care costs continue to challenge the sustainability of the health system. Actions taken to promote healthy communities and lower healthcare costs include our wellness offerings, benefit enhancements, and the expansion of the Preferred Provider Network, an overseas network of selected medical facilities focused on quality patient care. As a result of these actions, the financial results from our Health division have surpassed our expectations and provided an opportunity to pass on savings to our customers during these difficult economic times. These actions also support high client retention, particularly during a period of market consolidation.”
“This year, in collaboration with Johns Hopkins Medicine International, we launched “Thrive.”, an innovative nutrition, fitness and wellness programme aimed at improving the health of Bermuda’s workforce and, in turn, making Bermuda’s healthcare system sustainable for the future. Through this programme, we are committed to helping the community Live Better, Feel Better and Be Better.”
“Our European operations continue to grow and last year, we expanded our footprint in Malta through the acquisition of Millennium Insurance Agency Limited’s client portfolio. This acquisition has allowed us to strengthen our commercial client base in Malta while growing our existing portfolio through new and complementary lines of business.
“The Group’s success is directly tied to our culture of adding value to our stakeholders and the communities in which we operate. This translates into the way we do business. Whether it’s providing health and wellness solutions; supporting our clients in the aftermath of significant insurable events such as the two hurricanes experienced in Bermuda last year; or creating long-term shareholder value through strong business fundamentals.
Based upon the financial results of the Group for the year ended March 31, 2015, the Board has declared an interim dividend of eight cents per share payable on July 24, 2015 for shareholders of record on July 10, 2015.