Legal & General considers takeovers to boost growth

INSURER Legal & General (L&G) is considering a number of small takeovers to accelerate growth, its new chief executive said yesterday, as the firm unveiled a strong set of half-year results.

“You'll probably see some bolt-on acquisitions – the balance sheet is very strong and there are lots of assets for sale,” said Nigel Wilson, who took over last month.

“We’ll retain our strategic and financial discipline, but there will be a lot more opportunities to accelerate our growth through bolt-on acquisitions.”

Operating profit for the first half of 2012 increased five per cent to £518m, ahead of expectations. This enabled the board to increase the interim dividend by 18 per cent to 1.96p per share.

However analyst Kevin Ryan at Investec sounded a cautious note and retained his sell recommendation: “We continue to see Legal & General as strategically challenged, with just 12 per cent of operating profit coming from outside the UK.”