Phoenix appoints ex-FSA chief Howard Davies as chairman

INSURANCE firm Phoenix yesterday named Howard Davies, the former head of the Financial Services Authority, as its new chairman. The company also increased its cash generation target for the year by £100m.

Chief executive Clive Bannister told City A.M. that his new chairman would bring a “breadth of expertise” to the firm, which also announced first-half profits of £207m, up from £136m for the same period last year.

“These are strong results in a period of uncertainty. We’ve generated £119m cash, giving us the confidence to raise [full-year] cash targets from £500-600m to £600-700m,” Bannister added.

Phoenix operates life insurance firms that are closed to new business and combines them into a more profitable whole. But it is under pressure to renegotiate banking facilities relating to more than £2.1bn of debt that it used to fund previous expansions.

“While there is no update on the debt refinancing, management remains comfortable that discussions will reach a successful outcome,” said analyst Matthew Preston at Berenberg bank.