Lancashire shares drop despite strong results

 
Kate McCann
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SPECIALIST insurer Lancashire saw its share price tumble yesterday despite releasing strong first quarter results.

Concern about how much of the company’s profits would be returned to shareholders prompted the share price to fall by as much as 3.6 per cent yesterday morning, before closing down 2.3 per cent

Lancashire posted a 47 per cent rise in premiums written in the first quarter of 2014, helped along by its purchase of property and cargo insurer Cathedral last year for £266m.

Gross written premiums rose to $316.7m (£187m) in the first three months of this year, from $214.9m a year earlier, the company said.

Pre-tax profits fell to $57.4m in the three months ending March, from $78.9m a year earlier, while net operating profit slipped to $62.9m, from $67.3m.

“We will continue to monitor market developments over the rest of the year but, with no indication of any change in trading conditions, it is likely that we will return a substantial portion of our earnings later in the year,” said chief financial officer Elaine Whelan.