UK growth slows for Admiral as competitors crowd car market

Marion Dakers
CAR insurer Admiral posted a seven per cent rise in half-year profits to £171.8m yesterday, but analysts raised concerns that the headline growth disguised a stall in sales momentum, sending its shares lower.

Admiral’s turnover rose six per cent to £1.17bn, but it admitted the pace of UK customer and price growth slowed due to “premium rates falling and competitors seeking to add market share”.

The firm, which also operates as Bell, Diamond and Elephant, had 3.5m cars on its books at the end of June, up from 3.15m a year ago.

Profits at Admiral’s price comparison site rose 2.4 per cent to £8.4m, helping to offset losses in the international car insurance business, which more than doubled to £8.9m.

“We think the UK business is at an inflection point and with the drag from the international businesses yet to reverse we see diminishing earnings growth,” said Numis analyst Nick Johnson.

Shares fell 2.8 per cent to £11.62, underperforming the FTSE 100.