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Investment recovery drives annual profits leap at Beazley

City A.M. Reporter
Lloyd’s of London insurer Beazley yesterday reported a 15 per cent jump in its annual profit as rebounding financial markets fuelled a recovery in its investment returns.

Dublin-based Beazley said it had a pre-tax profit for 2009 of £100.7m, up from £87.2m the previous year.

The improvement partly reflected a strong recovery in the performance of its investment portfolio, which yielded returns of £56.1m, compared with a loss of £25.8m in 2008.

The company added that its profits were boosted by a further £14m as a result of its move to Ireland in March last year, which cut its tax rate to 12 per cent from 26 per cent in 2008.

Chief executive Andrew Horton said: “We took a number of steps in 2009 to ensure that, as profitable growth opportunities emerge in future, we will be ready to grasp them. In particular, our £150m rights issue reinforced our underwriting capabilities at Lloyd’s and funded the successful acquisition of First State Management Group, a US insurer of commercial property risks.”

Horton said that during 2010 the insurance market would be fortunate if it experienced a repeat of last year’s low incidence of catastrophe losses. Rates for catastrophe exposed business have fallen but remain relatively high, he added.