Beazley eyes M&A after stellar results

LLOYD’S insurer Beazley is still eyeing deals despite paying out $60m (£37.2m) in dividends and keeping a $20m chest for potential share buybacks, chief executive Andrew Horton told City A.M. yesterday.

Beazley’s share price rose more than 6.6 per cent to 127.7p after it reported a 60 per cent rise in pre-tax profit and a 21.4 per cent return on equity in its 2010 results.

But while it remains keen on M&A after its failed bid for rival Hardy Underwriting last year, Horton said it is not targeting Lloyd’s two current likely sales, Chaucer and Novae.

“Novae and Chaucer are in lines of business that we don’t understand and don’t have an interest in going into,” he said.

Beazley will focus instead on Lloyd’s syndicates that match its strengths in property, marine and specialty insurance and firms in the US, where it writes 60 per cent of its premiums.

“We are big in the US and in Lloyd’s so we would definitely look at both of those. We also want to increase our European footprint,” he said.

In its 25th unbroken year of profitability it saw pre-tax profit rise to $250.8m, up from $158.1m in 2009, delivering 27.4p earnings per share and paying a 10p total dividend.

Beazley, which wrote $1.7bn in premiums in 2010, saw growth in reinsurance, US data breach insurance, energy insurance – after BP’s Transocean spill – and in life, accident and health lines.